When water is detained near the source and allowed to slow and pool, it will tend to drop out most of the suspended particles that is being carried, such as the sediment and nutrients that can be found in the bottom of our lakes. By slowing and controlling the flow of each smaller stream, the water is never allowed to reach a “Rut Cutting” speed that will pick up and move more topsoil, sediment and nutrients down stream. This procedure alone should show why the maintenance required behind multiple small dams is less than that of a single large dam (review the current Missouri River Dam problems). The water is fed into the Big Sioux River channel at a controlled, slower rate that is comfortable and compatible to the size of the natural waterway. The main river channel is not obstructed with a dam type structure because the river is the conduit which allows water to flow away from the area. Multiple smaller dams and ponding temporarily retards the water flow and stores water in places where the topography has naturally done this before. In some cases, depending upon the ponds’ location in the tributary, a pond may become larger and others may experience a reduction in size.
One of the greatest concerns of the Sioux River Valley residents is to have a fully or near fully charged aquifer beneath them. The small dam concept is the most superior method to get this feature accomplished. The Lake Pelican Water Project District will be using and demonstrating the same principles that the Silver Creek Water shed has been using for the last 32 years in Minnehaha County. The Water District encourages other Watersheds to get aquatinted with the small dam concept for their benefit also.