DEQ taking public comment on Hart Dam issue.

April 28, 2016

HART — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is taking public comment until May 8 on the city’s proposal to remove the weir boards on Russell Creek.

The proposal arises from the DEQ’s claim that the city is violating water quality standards due to the Hart Dam.

The DEQ issue stems from temperatures in the south branch of the Pentwater River below the Hart Dam and Russell and Chippewa creeks exceeding 68 degrees. The bodies of water are subject to cold water fisheries standards.

The Hart Dam, built in 1927, is the focal point of the city’s hydroelectric system. It is one of just a few municipal hydroelectric operations in West Michigan.

A public notice published by the DEQ states that the city “proposes to remove boards from an existing weir on Russell Creek, removing four foot boards to lower the weir by 1.8 feet, and lower the surface water level on Russell Creek at the location adjacent to Mechanic Street. This activity will lower the water level by approximately 1.8 feet within the shallow water impoundment from Johnson Street to Mechanic Street. This is being proposed as a temporary project for two years to determine if elimination of the impoundment and a return to more natural stream flows will improve temperature and dissolved oxygen parameters in Russell Creek and downstream receiving waters.”

Written comments regarding the proposal may be sent to the DEQ by May 8. The address is: State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Division, Grand Rapids District Office, 350 Ottawa Ave., NW, Unit 10, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503-2341.

Comments can also be made electronically, and the public notice can be viewed at https://miwaters.deq.state.mi.us/miwaters/#/external/publicnotice/search.

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