Conservation Resource Alliance in Michigan reports on Syers Lake dam removal, a project supported by FFI.
The Little Manistee River originates from several swamps in eastern Lake County and flows through Lake, Mason and Manistee counties. The Little Manistee watershed drains 145,280 acres which includes approximately 63 miles of river and ultimately flows into Manistee Lake which empties into Lake Michigan. The combination of significant stretches of undeveloped forests and ground-fed streams create one of the coldest and stable streams in Michigan. Syers Lake Dam was a 6’ tall by 125’ long earthen berm dam on a tributary to the Little Manistee River. The artificially high lake level caused by the dam had flooded riparian wetlands on the lake’s margins resulting in extensive shallow-water flats which further exposed the lake to solar heating in addition to inundating 2/3 mile of the original channel. The deteriorated condition of the dam’s water control structure had created a situation in which water did not flow through the dam during periods of low water, resulting in approximately ¼ mile of Syers Creek downstream to go completely dry. The primary associated risk of the dam was imminent catastrophic failure during periods of high water when the water control structure was not able to accommodate flood flows (there was no spillway, auxiliary channel or otherwise to handle overflows). Installation of a properly sized culvert provides for passage of aquatic organisms, ensures year round flow of Syers Creek, and handles high flows during rain and snow melt events.
Section 1 Lake County, MI
Conservation Resource Alliance, Michigan Office of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S Fish & Wildlife Service, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Kanouse Outdoor Restoration, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Lake County Emergency Management.