Scenic City Empress

Boat Club volunteers pulled the Scenic City Empress out of the river at Weaver's Cove Wednesday morning. Water levels have been dropping because a tree that's stuck in one of the hydroelectric dam's gates is preventing full closure of the gate. The river level will be drawn down to facilitate removal of the tree.

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.

Iowa Falls Dam

Gate #1 at Iowa Falls' hydroelectric dam (on the far right) cannot be closed because of a tree that became lodged in it this spring or summer. The river level will have to be drawn down this fall - beginning in early October - to facilitate removal of the tree.

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