EGLE expects Kalamazoo River sediment cleanup to start March 1

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

Boaters on the Kalamazoo River near Morrow Dam on Sept. 25, 2020.

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The state has told an energy company to start clearing out sediment deposits downstream from a Kalamazoo-area dam by March 1.

Eagle Creek Renewable Energy lowered Morrow Lake in 2019 to replace the main spillway gates of the Morrow Dam. The project led to sediment washing down the Kalamazoo River, which local fishermen and environmentalists say has negatively impacted fish and other wildlife populations.

In a Friday letter (PDF) to Eagle Creek, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said that if the 114,000 cubic yards of sediment aren’t moved before the spring flows, mussel beds, fish spawning substrate and habitats for aquatic animals will suffer.

“Recreational access and quality issues will continue, and there will be greater risks of long-term impacts to the fishery,” the letter reads in part.

Calling the matter ‘urgent,’ EGLE said the company should start removing the sediment by the start of next month and clear out as much of it as possible before the spring thaw.

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