Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

April 24, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 04/24/2014

Take long, hard look

I spent 18 years as a hydro dam operator on the Thunder Bay River in Alpena. Our standard procedure was to lower the water levels behind the upstream dams during winter in anticipation of large flows during spring melt. That way we could release the excess water under more controlled conditions, preventing flooding.

What dams provide is a buffer to control river flows. As witnessed by the folks along the Boardman River, the removal of the Brown Bridge Dam shows that the river will fluctuate considerably with precipitation and snowpack when there is no human intervention.

This problem will progress downstream as each of the other two dams is removed. Residents may be exposed to widely fluctuating water levels. I expect the flooding at Boardman Lake to increase as each dam is removed, and a strong possibility of the same near Union Street. Sites along the river where there are constrictions, such as road crossings, may become unwanted dams, causing water to flood adjacent areas as seen at Logan’s Landing this year.

There should be a long, hard look taken at the consequences of giving up control of the river before any more dams are removed.

Ed Ludwiczak

Traverse City

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