Public safety remains our top priority and we have a longstanding commitment to promoting water and dam safety. The Morrow Dam is regularly inspected and maintained in accordance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) guidelines. An inspection of Morrow Dam’s Tainter gates in late 2019 identified areas in need of repair for both spillway gates. After consultation with federal, state, and local authorities we lowered the lake, through a controlled drawdown, to prevent further damage to the gates, minimize potential downstream effects, and facilitate gate repair.
To mitigate potential impacts to fish and wildlife we worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), among others, to protect natural, environmental, cultural, and recreational resources during the lake drawdown. This work included an extensive, 16-day field survey as we relocated aquatic organisms, mussels, fish, and other species stranded during the drawdown. Additionally, an archaeological survey of the exposed shoreline noted no significant findings. We also worked closely with FERC and the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office to avoid and/or mitigate any impacts to cultural or historic resources at the Project.
We understand the lake drawdown has impacted recreational uses. Michigan DNR closed the boat launch access at the Fort Custer Recreation Area at Morrow Lake. Additional access points above Morrow Lake remain open, and we are working cooperatively with Kalamazoo County to post signage cautioning users about the lower lake level.
We are proceeding with the gate repair in consultation with 3rd party experts and FERC’s permitting and approval process and anticipate completing the gate repairs by the end of the year. We expect seasonal precipitation to refill the lake prior to the 2021 recreational season.
STS Hydropower, LLC (STS) owns and operates the Morrow Hydroelectric Project (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project No. 9000) located on the Kalamazoo River in Comstock Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan.
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