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Watch lifted for western Wis. hydro dam

LADYSMITH, Wis. (AP) — Xcel Energy has lifted a watch for a western Wisconsin dam where a small sinkhole developed in an earthen embankment.

Xcel spokeswoman Liz Wolf Green said the watch on the Big Falls hydroelectric dam near Ladysmith was lifted at 5:15 p.m. Thursday. She said the sinkhole has stabilized.

The utility had immplemented a watch condition for potential failure of the dam Tuesday as rain fell in western Wisconsin.

As a precaution, Xcel began lowering the reservoir to relieve pressure. By Thursday evening the reservoir was down 9 feet; Xcel plans to eventually bring the water level down 12 feet.

There were no evacuations.

The dam is located on the Flambeau River about seven miles north and east of Ladysmith.

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