As many of you know, the USGS stream gauge at Wall Street in Ann Arbor has been showing some alarming river fluctuations in the past years. These wild swings in flow represented by rapid increases to high flows in a matter of minutes, followed by a similarly rapid drop to almost no flow in some downstream areas are likely having a significant impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife in the river. The fluctuations are being influenced by upstream dam operations and Allens Creek. I talked to Sumedh Bahl, City of Ann Arbor engineer in charge of dam operations, about these fluctuations in a meeting a few weeks ago. Chris Freiburger from the MDNRE was also present. Sumedh and his staff are trying to determine the main cause of these wild swings—Barton and Argo Dam operations, or Allens Creek. Ann Arbor is upgrading their equipment at Barton Dam and installing a back-up generator. The city also is working with the USGS on calibrating the dam mechanisms to improve responsiveness to changes in river flow.
HRWC is hosting a meeting on Tuesday, June 22nd at 7:00 PM at the NEW Center, 1100 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor to talk about the steps the city is taking to try to reduce dam-induced river level fluctuations and possible causes of the river fluctuations. I hope this will be a time to discuss how we can minimize these severe river fluctuations and understand the causes better. Call Laura at 734.769.5123 x606 if you have any questions.