There are many river users and functions to consider. The EIS Process will consider 14 different alternatives, some of which call for the removal of the Sixth Street Dam. Design engineers and resource agency staff will be determining the best method to restore the historic rapids near the Sixth Street Dam while allowing the most benefit for all river users and the environment.
All of the dams in the Lower Reach will be functionally removed from the river and more natural hydraulic elements like riffles, runs and pools will replace the existing riverwide hydraulics created by the dams.
An understandable concern from upstream property owners is that this project will “drain the pond” once the Sixth Street Dam is removed. As part of the 14 design alternatives that will be evaluated by the GLFC and USACE, a detailed analysis of upstream water levels will be conducted to better understand any changes. Based on the initial hydraulic analysis conducted by GRWW and our engineering firm, we don’t anticipate a significant reduction in water levels upstream of Riverside Park, however that can’t officially be determined until the GLFC selects the design of the preferred alternative for the Upper Reach and additional hydraulic modeling is complete.
Similarly, the City of Grand Rapids has been firm on their commitment to revitalize the river in a way that does not increase flood risk or create Harmful Interference as defined by EGLE as “causing an increase stage or change in the direction of flow that causes or is likely to cause: damage to property; a threat to life; pollution, impairment, or destruction of water or other natural resources.”
The accuracy of the flood modeling is of great importance to the City, GRWW, and the regulatory agencies and will be an extensive part of the regulatory review process. A permit will not be issued if a project increases flood risk.