Three Dams Coming Out: Cold Water Fisheries Will Benefit

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At a meeting last week, city and county commissioners voted to remove the Boardman, Brownbridge, and Sabin Dams while keeping the Union Street dam, all in Grand Traverse County.

On April 9, 2009, the Traverse City Council and the Grand Traverse County Board of Commissioners met in a joint session to act on the recommendations of the Implementation Team and the Boardman Rivers Dam Committee (BRDC).  After several presentations, public comments and discussion the Council and the Commissioners approved the removal of the three dams.

A 2002 settlement agreement had established an Implementation Team and subsequently the BRDC to determine the fate of the former hydroelectric dams owned by Traverse City and Grand Traverse County. 

According to the Settlement Agreement, if dam removal were pursued, then the Team would prepare a Removal Plan that includes but is not limited to sediment mitigation, fish passage (Union Street Dam maintenance), cultural resources, appropriate permit acquisition, and potential relocation of the river channel at the Boardman Pond.

The Michigan Hydro Licensing Coalition, a member of Hydropower Reform Coalition, is a member of the Implementation Team.

Removal of the three dams will directly benefit the cold water fisheries. Boardman river is knows to be one of the best trout streams in Michigan. Trout species such as Brook and Rainbow trout and salmon species such as steelhead, coho and chinook salmon can be found in the Boardman river.

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