A tree, stuck in one of the gates at Iowa Falls’ hydroelectric dam, is causing Iowa River levels to drop upstream. On Wednesday, the problem – and the planned solution – forced an end to the Scenic City Empress riverboat’s season.
The issue developed sometimes this spring, after a massive ice jam and heavy rains raised the level of the river. The tree, whose exact size is unknown because it is fully submerged beneath the water, is preventing the full closure of one of the hydroelectric dam’s three gates. The gates are opened and closed to control water flow and river levels.