Plan would lower level of Grand River in Lansing
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 05 July 2005 05:24
Under a plan to prevent flooding and improve fishing on the Grand River, the city would lower the river by 4 feet.

The plan, which may be the topic of public hearings later this year, calls for the removal of the Brenke Fish Ladder and the North Lansing Dam. A study as early as next summer could examine long-term effects.

"If we tear the North Lansing Dam down, the river will run faster and its banks will become narrower," Ronda Oberlin, emergency management specialist for the city, told the Lansing State Journal for a Saturday story.

"We believe it will allow greater mobility of fish and wildlife on the Grand River."

The plan has caused concern among some who currently fish on the river. Dan and Barbara Boos of Perry wonder how much longer they would have to enjoy fishing near the ladder, which allows migratory fish, such as salmon, to swim upstream to spawn.

"Why bust up this dam and ruin a good thing?" said Dan Boos, who fishes on the Grand River about four times a week.

Oberlin said if the Brenke Fish Ladder is demolished, a new one might be built at the Moores Park Dam.

A faster-running river would result in a healthier fish population, according to a report from a task force that includes the state Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Natural Resources and city officials.

The task force also expects an increase in river activities, such as canoeing and kayaking, if the North Lansing Dam is removed. It would cost the city $166,000 to remove the dam if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did the job.

"It's not necessarily good or bad; it's just a change," said James Clift, policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council, a coalition of environmental and public health groups. "The city just has to make sure they start a very public dialogue on what their long-term plan is for the Grand River."

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