Comstock, Kalamazoo County, MI – On March 1st, STS Hydropower, LLC (STS) will begin a dredging project to remove sediment from an oxbow feature of the Kalamazoo River near South Wenke Park. The project is being conducted in cooperation with the Township of Comstock Parks Department, Kalamazoo County and the State of Michigan.
The oxbow is a natural depositional area that is currently filled with sediment. STS will be removing approximately 3,000 cubic yards of sediment from the oxbow area to restore the natural depositional characteristics. The project is expected to take approximately 6 weeks to complete.
The dredging project is one of a number of steps STS is taking to address the sediment deposits downstream of Morrow Lake Dam that were identified following the emergency drawdown of Morrow Lake to complete spillway gate repairs. The gate replacement was completed in December 2020, and water levels in Morrow Lake and the Kalamazoo River were returned to normal in early January 2021.
In December 2020, STS completed an investigation of the sediment deposits in the Kalamazoo River downstream of the Morrow Lake Dam. The results of the Phase I Investigation indicated no chemicals of concern above human risk levels in the sediment deposits sampled. The results of this investigation have been shared with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
STS is working with EGLE and the USEPA to investigate other sediment deposits downstream of Morrow Lake Dam and concurrently developing plans for additional sediment removal projects. STS expects to share these plans with agencies in early March. Sediments removed from the Kalamazoo River will be stored and evaluated for beneficial re-use opportunities.
“Safety and environmental stewardship are the top priorities for everyone at Morrow Dam,” said David Fox, Director of Licensing and Compliance for STS. “The decision to draw down Morrow Lake was made solely in the interest of public safety and the replacement of the spillway gates was an important investment in the safety and long-term reliability of Michigan’s critical energy infrastructure. With the gate replacement now complete, we are fully focused on continuing to work with EGLE to address downstream sediment concerns. The start of dredging activities is an important milestone for us.”
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.