Demolition experts have already torn down enough of the old dam that water is no longer flowing over the top. Photo: Karen Schaefer.

Water over the dam

In Cuyahoga Falls, two dams on the Cuyahoga River are coming down at no cost to the city. State officials say that will improve water quality and habitat for aquatic species, while city officials look forward to new opportunities for white-water kayaking and riverside development.

Dam removals that expose former bottomlands like this channel of the Boardman River near Traverse City, Mich., create  prime real estate for invasive plants. Photo: Frank Dituri, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Plant wars kick in when dams come out

Dam removal in the Great Lakes region exposes nutrient-rich bottomlands.

That creates prime real estate for invasive plants.

Restoration solutions include poisoning the invaders with pesticides and spreading native plant seeds to revegetate the bottomlands.

A committee raised more than a million dollars to modify dams along the Boardman River in Traver City. Photo: Andrew Jameson.

Old dams fail inspection but repair money isn’t there

Lack of funding for dam repair or removal is an increasing concern as many across the state approach the end of their design life.

Built to last 50 years, more than 90 percent of the Michigan’s 2,580 dams will have exceeded that lifespan in the next few years.