On May 18, 2023, it was announced that sixteen failing or useless dams in Michigan will be removed or altered to help restore rivers and reduce risks to communities from catastrophic failure.
The projects will receive grant funding through the Dam Risk Reduction Grant Program (DRRGP) authorized by the Michigan Legislature last year.
This grant program aims to provide private owners with resources for proper management of existing dams and reduce the overall risk of dam failure in Michigan.
Some $15.3 million is authorized for work ranging from dam removals to critical maintenance.
Additional funding opportunities will be made available for dam risk reduction and will be announced publicly when they are ready for applicants.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Dam Safety Unit announced the following grant awards for the fiscal year/grant funding cycle:
- Ypsilanti, $1,000,000. To the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner for removal activities to Tyler and Beyer dams located on Willow Run Creek. Due to their advanced deterioration, both dams are drawn down. Removal of the dams will reduce risk by increasing public safety, replacing the deteriorating Tyler Road crossing to Willow Run Airport, improving species passage, stabilizing the sediments and stream channel in place, reducing erosion, improving water quality, and improving flood conveyance and function of the county drain.
- Ypsilanti, $3,781,654. To the City of Ypsilanti for the removal of the high-hazard, poor-condition Peninsular Paper Dam. Removal will restore this section of the Huron River to a free-flowing waterway and remove the threat to human and environmental health due to flooding.
- Baldwin, $115,000. To the Conservation Resource Alliance for the final design and permitting for the removal of the significant-hazard, unsatisfactory Baldwin Fish Hatchery Dam. Dam removal will restore the river’s hydrologic functions, reconnect floodplains, return natural stream morphology, remove impounded sediment, and provide instream habitat in the form of established pools, runs, riffles, and installed woody debris.
- Flint, $1,500,000. To Genesee County Parks and Recreation to complete removal activities of the high-hazard, poor-condition Hamilton Dam. This project aims to complete the full scope of work and remove the dam and restore the stream channel to allow for more seamless fish passage and overall river connectivity.
- Brooklyn, $2,532,850. To the River Raisin Watershed Council for the removal of the high-hazard Brooklyn Hydroelectric Dam. The dam will be removed and the headwaters of the River Raisin reconnected through natural channel redevelopment.
- Albion, $1,000,000. To the City of Albion for removal design of the significant-hazard, poor-condition Albion Dam as well as four other unregulated dam structures. The city’s primary goals for this project include reduction of public safety hazards, softening the shoreline while improving floodplain connectivity and conveyance, maintaining and improving recreational amenities and opportunities, and restoring aquatic animal habitat passage.
- Marquette, $473,724. To A. Lindberg & Sons, Inc. for a partial removal of the high-hazard Carp River Intake Dam. The upper portion of the spillway will be removed, lowering the reservoir an additional 10 feet, greatly reducing the risk to health and habitat and potentially lowering the overall hazard classification of the dam.
- Republic, $750,000. To the Michigamme River Basin Authority for the removal and subsequent construction of a rock arch rapids at the significant-hazard, poor-condition Republic Dam. The new structure is designed to handle flooding events but also allow for river connectivity with a series of step pools in the rock arch rapids.
- Rose City, $300,000. To Huron Pines for the engineering, design, and permitting phase of the removal of the significant-hazard, unsatisfactory-condition Sanback Dam. This phase will allow for progress toward stream restoration along with demolition to ensure the drawdown and succession to natural channel protects the human and ecological factors of the site.
- Saline, $192,000. To the City of Saline to complete a dam removal feasibility study for the significant-hazard Saline River Dam. The final deliverable will be a report outlining the benefits, risks, costs, and steps required to remove the Saline River Dam, as well as a conceptual design. The report will be used as the basis for subsequent design and permitting.
- Alger, $2,320,497. To the Forest Lake Property Owners Association for the rehabilitation of the now failed Forest Lake Dam due to the May 2020 flooding disaster. These funds are appropriated out of Section 309 of 2022 PA 53 for communities directly impacted by the flooding. These funds will be used to rehabilitate the structure and bring the dam back into regulation with Part 315 provisions.
- Clarkston, $106,000. To the Village of Clarkston for planning and design of a replacement structure for the high-hazard Clarkston Mill Pond Dam. The project will consist of a lake level study to determine the most effective solution and design of a replacement dam structure, a new water control structure, and a new discharge pipe based on the results of the study and in accordance with modern dam safety engineering practices.
- Holly, $530,000. To the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Parks and Recreation Division for repair activities to the high-hazard Heron Dam. The purpose of this project is to design and perform repairs and/or replacement of the outlet, inlet, and gate structures as needed to provide a safe and properly functioning dam. This project addresses seepage and embankment stability concerns that have been present for several years.
- Manchester, $71,060. To the Village of Manchester for funds to complete a structural evaluation report, an operation and maintenance plan, and a dam disposition study for the high-hazard Ford Manchester Dam. These items will help equip the village to make proper decisions on the future management of the dam.
- Tecumseh, $425,000. To the City of Tecumseh for the repair of the significant-hazard, unsatisfactory-condition Standish Dam. The primary objective of this project is to remove the historic Raceway Spillway since it no longer serves a functional purpose and only poses a failure liability. This action has been identified by Dam Safety Unit staff as an immediate or emergency action item.
- White Cloud, $222,712. To the City of White Cloud for repairs to the high-hazard, poor-condition White Cloud Dam. The city proposes to complete concrete and metal work that addresses inadequate spillway capacity issues. The city will also complete a dam disposition feasibility study to inform the city on the potential future of the dam.
Photo of Peninsular Paper Dam on the Huron River, Ypsilanti, Michigan courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikipedia.
See Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy website.