New dam safety task force holds its first meeting Tuesday | Michigan Radio
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New dam safety task force holds its first meeting Tuesday

Sep 7, 2020

The Sanford dam failed to hold back torrents of water after days of rain after the failure of the Edenville dam
Credit steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new special task force will meet for the first time Tuesday to review state policy in the wake of the failure of two dams back in May.

More than ten thousand people were forced to evacuate following the failure of the Edenville and Sanford dams. The dams failed after days of heavy rain.

Thousands of homes and businesses in parts of Gladwin, Midland and Saginaw counties were damaged or destroyed in the 500 year flood event.

The Michigan Dam Safety Task Force will provide recommendations on policy, budget, legislative and enforcement reforms to prevent future dam failures across the state.

The task force is composed of top state government officials, engineers, electric power generation experts and environmentalists. Its recommendations are expected early next year.

“The Michigan Dam Safety Task Force members have broad expertise and knowledge in all areas related to dam safety,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark.

The members of the Task Force are:

  • Melinda Bacon, senior consultant, SME engineering consulting of Plymouth.
  • John Broschak, vice president of generation operations and compression, Consumers Energy.
  • Bryan Burroughs, executive director, Michigan Trout Unlimited.
  • Brett Fessell (invited), river restoration ecologist, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
  • Marty Holtgren, executive director, Muskegon River Watershed Assembly.
  • Dr. Dana Infante, interim chair of fisheries and wildlife, Michigan State University.
  • Douglas Jester, partner, 5 Lakes Energy.
  • Jim Kochevar, general manager of Michigan operations, Cleveland-Cliffs.
  • Paul Malocha, Stantec Consulting Services; member, Association of State Dam Safety Officials
  • Tanya Paslawski, president, Michigan Electric and Gas Association.
  • Evan Pratt, water resources commissioner, Washtenaw County.
  • Bill Rustem, advisor to former Michigan governors William Milliken and Rick Snyder.
  • Dr. Stan Vitton, professor of civil and environmental engineering, Michigan Technological University.
  • Abigail Watkins, director of emergency services, Newaygo County.
  • Glen Wiczorek, senior utilities engineer, City of Ann Arbor.

Representing the State of Michigan:

  • Paul Ajegba, director, Michigan Department of Transportation.
  • Liesl Clark, director, EGLE.
  • Dan Eichinger, director, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
  • Dan Scripps, chairman, Michigan Public Service Commission.