The Windom dam was first built in 1878 near the Union Pacific railroad tracks for use with a flour mill. Long after the mill was gone, the City kept the dam in place for the many benefits it provides. However, in recent years the city neglected to maintain the dam. In 2007 water began to go around the side of the dam, instead of just over the top. As a result, the area between the river bank and the dam have washed out.
There are many negative consequences to a compromised dam or dam removal that are a threat to public safety, state highway bridges, erosion, the environment, wildlife, and homeowners adjacent to the reservoir.There has been a lot of correspondence between the city, the DNR, and others expressing these concerns. Unfortunately, it appears that the City and DNR are ignoring these consequences. Currently, the DNR is requiring the City of Windom to apply for a new dam permit, as if there had never been a dam at all.