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FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — Work is expected to begin next month to remove two dams spanning the Des Moines River in Fort Dodge now that officials have approved contracts worth more than $1.4 million after resolving permitting issues.

The City Council announced Monday that it hired Minnesota-based construction company Rachel Contracting Inc. to remove the Hydroelectric Dam and a second structure often referred to as the little dam, The Messenger reported .

The dams need to be removed for safety and environmental reasons, according to Nicole Church, an environmental specialist with Snyder & Associates, an engineering, planning and design firm.

Dams are known to be dangerous locations for drowning and prevent fish movement along the river, Church said. A 2013 study conducted by the state Department of Natural Resources found that fish downstream of the Hydroelectric Dam aren't found upstream, she said.

Church also noted that the state Department of Natural Resources wants unused dams to be removed.

The project ran into permitting issues last month after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers informed city officials that it wouldn't issue permits for the dam removal projects following concerns raised by the State Historic Preservation Office.

City officials met with the two groups and have since resolved the issue, said City Engineer Tony Trotter. The city has agreed to preserve the framework of one gate of the Hydroelectric Dam.

"All permitting has been resolved," Church said.

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Work is scheduled to begin in February and could last a couple months, Trotter said.

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Information from: The Messenger, http://www.messengernews.net

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