Michigan Update: Small Dam Removal to be Workshop Focus of Michigan River Network Annual Meeting

Michigan Update: Small Dam Removal to be Workshop Focus of Michigan River Network Annual Meeting

by Scott McEwen, Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council

The Michigan River Network has set October 12 and 13, 2001 as the dates for its annual meeting. This year’s meeting will be a workshop focused on Citizen Involvement in Small Dam Removal. It is estimated that 75,000 dams exist across the United States today. This year, it is estimated that between forty and fifty dams that are no longer serving their intended purpose will be removed. The act of removing a dam represents one of the most fundamental acts of restoration — recreating that which has been lost below the dam and which has been stagnant for decades or even centuries.

The training workshop, led by current and former staff of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, will be limited to only 25 participants (Michigan folks only). Wisconsin has quietly removed or breached more than 30 dams over the years for safety and environmental reasons. These trainers will present some of these dam removal projects as case studies of what lessons were learned during the dam removal process. Each successful removal is a compelling story of dedicated individuals and organizations overcoming such obstacles as funding, technical complications, bureaucratic tangles, citizen protests, and permitting. A site visit to a potential dam removal project will be part of the workshop. Contact Debbie Messer at debbie@watershedcouncil.org for more information about the event.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.