- Associated Press - Thursday, April 26, 2018

OSTEGO, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is nearly done removing a century-old dam to return the Kalamazoo River to its natural state.

The department is set to complete the Otsego Township Dam removal and the area’s restoration within the next six months, said Mark Mills, a field manager with the agency. The dam hasn’t produced power for decades, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported .

The Environmental Protection Agency included the dam’s removal in its cleanup of contaminated sediment at the Kalamazoo River Superfund site. The EPA cleanup is complemented by the state agency’s work, which includes removing structures near the dam.

Department workers have removed large timbers installed in 1903, Mills said.

The department is close to returning the location to its natural state, though the banks will be slightly higher than in the past, he said. Workers are burying trees inside the riverbanks for stability.

“What’s left behind is going to be restored and really look pretty natural,” Mills said. Light rapids will flow near where the dam once existed, and a nearby area will provide access to place a kayak in the river.

“The fishermen are going to be fishing in here like crazy,” Mills said.

The EPA’s cleanup intends to eventually make it safe enough to eat fish from the river.

Mills said that the next generation will enjoy a river “where we have forested and wetland habitats right up to the edge of the river where folks and wildlife can enjoy.”


Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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