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MICHIGAN– Michigan has more than 2,600 dams on its rivers and streams, and the condition of many dams is deteriorating to the point where it threatens public safety and the habitats of fish and other aquatic species. Since 2012, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – through its Dam Management Grant Program – has provided annual funding to assist with the removal or repair of these dams and their supporting infrastructure.
This year the DNR will provide $350,000 through the program and administer a one-time supplemental appropriation of $8 million authorized by the Michigan Legislature to fund similar projects. The funding will support the efforts of nonprofit, local government and state government organizations in five dam removal and repair projects throughout the state:
- $3 million (in supplemental funding) for the removal of the Manistique Paper Inc. Dam (Schoolcraft County). This dam is deteriorated and no longer provides a functional barrier to the invasive sea lamprey. The DNR Fisheries Division will receive the funding and oversee the project.
- $2,940,775 ($250,000 from the Dam Management Grant Program and the remainder in supplemental funding) for removal of the Trowbridge Dam on the Kalamazoo River (Allegan County). Trowbridge Dam is the highest-priority dam removal project in the state due to public safety concerns related to its poor condition and high hazard rating. The DNR Wildlife Division will receive this funding and oversee the project.
- $1,650,000 (in supplemental funding) for the removal of the Union Street Dam on the Boardman River (Grand Traverse County). This removal supports an experimental fish passage system (FishPass), which ultimately could support fish passage strategies for desirable species, block undesirable species and allow for recreational uses such as paddling on the river. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission will receive this funding and oversee the project.
- $410,725 ($50,000 from the Dam Management Grant Program and the remainder from supplemental funding) for the repair of the Cornwall Impoundment dam structure (Cheboygan County) to protect a world-class bluegill fishery and – because the embankment doubles as a trail – support the structure’s frequent use by non-gas-powered water craft, campers, hikers and equestrian groups. Huron Pines will be the recipient of this funding and oversee the project.
- $348,500 ($50,000 from the Dam Management Grant Program and the remainder from supplemental funding) to remove a steel sheeting dam on Portage Creek at Milham Park (Kalamazoo County). This removal will help restore the stream to re-establish a stable channel, provide fish habitat and allow access for fishing. The city of Kalamazoo will receive this funding and oversee the project.
The state’s Dam Management Grant Program is funded by General Fund dollars appropriated by the Michigan Legislature. This funding will be available in the next cycle through the new Fisheries Habitat Grant. The DNR will announce the request for proposals for this grant at the end of July.