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Boardman Dam near Traverse City set for spring removal

Removing the Boardman Dam will restore the river to its "historic route," according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Removing the Boardman Dam will restore the river to its "historic route," according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Work will soon begin to remove the Boardman dam from the river of the same name near Traverse City.

Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a $6.3 million contract with the Wisconsin-based firm Michels Corporation to begin removal in the spring.

Carl Platz with the Army Corps of Engineers says removing the idle hydroelectric dams is part of a larger slate of projects aimed at restoring the Boardman River ecosystem.

“Over time we’ll continue to see improvements,” Platz said. “(We’ll) continue to see the area improved to what it used to be. That said, we do expect to see fairly quick turnaround in terms of the ecosystem."

The Boardman Dam will be the second dam on the Boardman River to be removed since 2013. There are plans to remove a third dam, the Sabin dam, next year.

Platz says the Army Corps of Engineers has been involved with projects to restore the Boardman River ecosystem since 2006, and credits the progress of the dam removal projects to the collaborative efforts of multiple government agencies and interested partners.

“The collaboration with all the federal, state, tribal and local stakeholders has really been what’s made the difference for this project,” Platz said.

According to Platz, three hydroelectric dams were built on the Boardman River nearly a century ago to provide power to the surrounding areas, but none has been used to generate electricity in nearly a decade.

Removing the Boardman Dam will also relocate the flow of the river closer to its historic route, west of where the powerhouse was built to generate electricity.