Monthly dam restoration progress meeting to discuss value engineering, dam restoration, permitting, and a natural resources restoration study. Participants included representatives from Four Lakes Task Force, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, GEI Consultants and Spicer Group.
As we work through the Special Assessment for the operations and maintenance of the dams, we've received questions about how the dams will operate and what benefit they bring. Below is a brief explanation with links to articles published in the past that explain these concepts.
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The dams will be operated as "run of the river" facilities. This means the dam gates are operated to keep a normal "legal" lake level, such that the outflow from the dam is equal to the water flowing into it. The dams will not store additional water in the lake, therefore the lake levels will not fluctuate as much as they did when the dams produced power. The lake level is more stable and downstream of the dam, the river will be a natural flow, with less negative impact on the shoreline.
FLTF is constructing a temporary bridge between Sanford Dam and the embankment as part of the stabilization process. The dam will be above the water level and is movable. This temporary bridge will provide worker access to the dam and will be in place for several months. it will be removed at the completion of stabilization, later in 2022. Visitors to Sanford Village Park will be able to see the structure.
Over the last year, Four Lakes Task Force laid foundational pieces for recovery and restoration. These accomplishments positioned us well for 2022 and we remain optimistic and hopeful that we can successfully restore the lakes if the community works together and stays positive and focused.
In 2021 we were able to connect with many property owners through 16 public meetings, 60 news flashes and 64 website updates. Our erosion team was also hard at work stabilizing over two miles of shoreline.
Four Lakes Task Force made considerable progress on dam stabilization for Secord, Smallwood, Wixom and Sanford lakes during the last year. FLTF estimates about $20 million in funding is needed to stabilize the dams and properties. This work is necessary to minimize further shoreline erosion, protect properties, prevent further damage and erosion downstream, and safeguard property owners. All work conducted on the lakes and dams will be the foundation for final dam and lake level restoration.
Interim stabilization work is nearing completion on the Tittabawassee River side of the Edenville Dam and has started on the Sanford Dam. The interim stabilization measures will stabilize embankments that were breached during the May 2020 flood, stabilize the concrete portions of the dams that were damaged during the May 2020 flood, and restore the river to the pre-disaster course.
The multi-billion-dollar water infrastructure bill (Senate Supplemental Bill 565) was unanimously reported Wednesday, December 1, to the Senate Appropriations Committee, and included an allocation of $250 million to be used to restore the Four Lakes Task Force dams and Secord, Smallwood, Wixom and Sanford lakes.
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