Last Friday we hosted a seminar providing communities with tools and resources for dam removal decisions. About 45 people attended ranging from dam owners and operators, the Dimondale Dam, and the Boardman River Dams). Presenters shared the history, complications, and successes of the projects. The second panel consisted of 3 resource representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These presenters shared the regulatory process, community assistance and funding resources, and some background on dam disposition in Michigan.
We co-hosted the workshop with URS Corporation. The Huron River Watershed has 97 dams with about 2/3 of the dams being older than 40 years–dams are typically designed for a 40-year to 50-year life span. The Huron River is threatened by altered hydrology. Removing dams returns a more natural hydrology to the river and allows it to be more resilient in responding to the effects of climate change.