This report is generally consistent with the framework and priorities of Four Lakes Task Force, including our desire to see the stabilization of the Tobacco side of the Edenville Dam.
To my Four Lakes neighbors –
I know many of you were devastated by the dam failures and resulting floods that took place on May 19th. Many of us lost our homes or we have to rebuild, and all of us lost an important part of our lives. Our businesses and livelihoods were threatened, and now what once were beautiful lakes are barren fields and a winding river. While the flood may have washed away so much from our lives, what was not lost in its waters was our hope and our resiliency.
The Last Two Years
In the 1920s, the Edenville, Sanford, Smallwood and Secord Dams were built to generate electrical power, creating four lakes. While interstate electric grids and efficient large generating plants diminished the value of the hydroelectric facilities over the past nearly 100 years, the lakes have become a naturalized part of the environment and have created significant economic, recreational and social benefits to our community and the counties of Gladwin and Midland. The fisheries and ecosystems that have developed around these systems have been an asset to the communities and the state.
We know this is a personal and economic hardship for everyone, and we are working hard on many fronts to determine the most effective path forward to restore our lakes and dams. Nearly every member of the volunteer FLTF board is a lake property owner and each of us has been personally impacted by the dam breach. We care as much as you do about our lakes and see ourselves as the best advocates for the future of our communities. In regards to the Special Assessment District, we will not pursue implementing the assessment at this time.
On May 19th, the failures of the Edenville and Sanford dams and the resulting flood created a catastrophic change to thousands of people in Midland and Gladwin counties. But it has not changed the spirit of the towns and communities that live around the lake, and it shows in their efforts to recover and renew themselves.
In difficult times, it is natural for some people to come to their own conclusions and find blame. But this commentary from a few, including the owners of the dams and the State of Michigan, should not distract our community from its mission of recovery. Four Lakes Task Force (FLTF) wishes to clarify important facts as they relate to dam operations and procedural matters. Our desire is to provide information that will help an independent investigation to occur and allow our community to move forward with the vital work of restoring our lakes and dams.
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