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State Begins Emergency Clearing Of Edenville Waterway Following Spring Collapse

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City of Midland
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About 11,000 people were evacuated from the May 2020 floods in Central Michigan.

State officials say emergency efforts are underway to prepare the Edenville spillway for high spring water levels after a dam collapsed earlier this year.

The project is intended to clear and lower the waterway and allow any spring surges to flow downstream uninterrupted.

Nick Assendelft is with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. He said the concern right now is that the dam isn’t prepared to handle a spring surge.

“We’re concerned that with the dam still in the condition it is, come springtime when you have snowmelt and rainstorms the dam is not going to be able to hold back increased water flow and increased precipitation,” he said.

The $2.3-million project will lower the waterway by about 20-feet, helping to increase flow and relieve pressure on the dam.

Assendelft said the project does not represent the state taking a stance on the future of the dam.

“This doesn’t mean in any way the future of the dams has been decided,” he said. “Independent of the work we do here those decisions are going to be made at the local level by the owners and local stakeholders.”

Assendelf said the goal will be to complete the project by “late winter.”

Separately, the Four Lakes Task Force announced a bankruptcy court has allowed them to proceed with acquiring the dam. The group called the ruling a “key step” in their effort to rebuild the Edenville dam and restore the lake.

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