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Hinckley City Council Discusses DNR Proposal to Remove the Grindstone River Dam

The Hinckley City Council discussed its response to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' proposal to remove the Grindstone River Dam during a meeting this week.

Currently, the DNR is accepting public comments over an environmental impact statement regarding the project.

According to the DNR, “The removal is proposed because the dam is in poor condition, it presents a safety hazard, and it is a barrier to passage of fish and other aquatic wildlife on the river. The dam also does not allow for natural sediment transport and natural stream features or habitat diversity.”

The city of Hinckley has been opposed to totally removing the dam, and Mayor Don Zeman says that residents want it to stay.

“The only feedback that I’ve had from the public is that they want to keep it. I haven’t run into anybody who has been in favor of removing it. Everybody has wanted to keep it,” said Mayor Zeman.

Councilmembers Tim Burkhardt and Jace Scharpnick agreed with Mayor Zeman’s comments. “I’m literally right downstream from it, and I’m concerned what kind of effect it’s [removing the dam] going to have on the flow of the river,” said Scharpnick. “I’ve had several people say the same thing to me.”

The council directed staff to submit comments opposing the removal. They also want staff to request another resolution from the Pine County Board to help support their efforts.

The public can continue to make comments on the project until Wednesday, July 26.

Written comments on the draft EIS may be submitted using the following methods and should include “Grindstone EIS” in the subject line.

You can email them to, or physically mailed to Becky Horton, EIS Project Manager, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

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