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Muskegon River Dam Removal

Year Awarded: 1999
Awarded: $755,000
Team Leader:  City of Big Rapids

The City of Big Rapids removed the Muskegon River Dam remnant, restoring natural hydrological and ecological conditions to the largest free-flowing reach of high-gradient river in the Great Lakes basin. The dam removal involved upstream sediment dredging, downstream sediment traps and restoration of natural flow and river bottom elevation.

The USGS Water Resources Division (Lansing) monitored the biological, chemical, and physical conditions of the river before and after removal. Sediment volumes and associated sediment management costs were significantly less than originally anticipated.

This successful work reconnected upstream and downstream habitat and reestablish the riffle, pool, and run sequence of the river. It also refocused attention on the river and resulted in efforts to improve public access and provide additional community greenspace along the river.