Wisconsin River drawdown could hit riverfront businesses hard this summer

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin River looks a little different this summer.

"So normally with the shoreline to my left, there’s water all the way across to the trees to the little peninsula. So normally all of this sand and mud is usually covered with water," said Divepoint Owner Carrie Butt.

Since May 6th the river has dropped nearly one foot each day. For Butt, the changing shoreline directly impacts her kayaking business.

"Normally on a hot summer day we can see as many as 90 people coming from our store right to the riverfront to do some kayaking. That definitely not going to be kayaking. That's not going to be the case this summer. It will be a lot less," Butt added.

Companies like Wausau on the Water, or WOW, which is also on the Riverfront, believe people will still stop by, despite the low water levels.

"I think that the patio even without the water will still be busy. Just to come to WOW," WOW owner Julie Greenwood explained.

Businesses along the riverfront are actually looking at the drawdown as an opportunity to do some cleanup.

"There's so much more to it, the history that will be seen, what could be found at the bottom of the river, and the good that it'll do for the community," Greenwood said.

"There is some positive coming out of this. We're going to be able to pick up some of the debris, move a few logs, and definitely pick up some glass and garbage. Behind me is an old water tank that we want to pull out, things like that," Butt added.

The river level will continue to drop until May 21st, when the river will be 14 feet below the normal level.