THE CORUNNA DAM will remain for one more year, as the city of Corunna’s removal project has been delayed. The removal and following river revitalization project is still going to happen, but due to a delay at the state level, the project will now begin next spring, in 2018.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The city of Corunna will not be removing the dam located just north of Corunna City Hall along Shiawassee St. in 2017, as originally planned. Instead, the removal will be pushed back a year, until the spring of 2018. Postponing the removal is necessary primarily because the state has been slow in authorizing and releasing grant funding this year. The funds are expected to be released to the city in the coming months, but beginning the removal project in the fall would not leave the city enough time before winter to complete the work.
There are also concerns by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) about how the removal of the dam will affect the river’s mussel population. The river’s channel will be narrowed by the removal of the dam, and the MDEQ fears that the force of the water coming around the turn in the river just north of the dam will damage the mussel’s habitat. The delay in the dam’s removal will allow the city to re-work its engineering plans, and it will allow the MDEQ to ensure that the aquatic habitat is preserved for all the creatures of the river, which was the reason for removing the dam in the first place.
Though many local residents will be happy to hear that the dam will stay for the time being, city of Corunna Assessor/Planner Merilee Lawson wants to reassure the public that the removal project is still going to take place, and that the city’s grant funding is still secure.
“We all just need to keep calm and be patient,” Lawson said recently. “There are so many government entities involved in this, with the MDEQ, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, so we have to wait until they are ready for us to proceed with the removal. The dam at Shiatown will be removed this year, and then we will remove our dam in 2018.”