MDNR works with local communities and owners of hydroelectric dams to remove dams that no longer serve a useful purpose. The removal of a dam that no longer serves a purpose provides an opportunity for river restoration. Not only are fish able to pass freely, but water quality is often improved. Dam removal also eliminates concerns surrounding old dams that are unsafe or require extensive maintenance.
Stronach Dam, built in 1912, is the only dam on the Pine River and is located approximately 3 miles upstream of the Manistee River and Pine River confluence. The Pine River near Stronach Dam carries a high annual bedload of sand due to its steep, sandy banks and logging operations that took place in the late 1800's. This sand contributed to the filling of the original reservoir and the decommissioning of Stronach Dam by 1953.
Stronach Dam, on the Pine River, Manistee County, Michigan, once used to generate hydroelectric power, is an example of an aging structure for which it made economic sense to remove. Creative negotiating led to the removal of Stronach Dam as part of an alternative licensing agreement for Consumers Energy's Tippy Dam hydroelectric project on the Manistee River. A staged removal process began in 1996 to allow the Pine River to gradually restore its channel in the areas upstream of the dam while causing the least amount of downstream environmental impact. The final stage of dam removal was completed in 2003.
Since 1998, Dr. Dan Hayes at Michigan State University has led research efforts on the environmental impacts of Stronach Dam on the Pine River before and after removal. This research will be used to provide guidance for similar efforts across the nation.
Stronach Dam prior to removal June 1996
Stronach Dam September 2003
Removal of Stronach Dam is nearly complete November 2003
Upstream of Stronach Dam November 2003