Michigan announces plan to bolster state's dam safety

Michigan's Department of Natural Resources has announced a new Dam Management Grant Program to address the state's failing dam infrastructure.

The grant will provide US$2.35 million in the 2013 fiscal year to fund dam removal and maintenance, as per a 2011 address by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

"This program begins to address a growing issue for our state as more than 90% of Michigan's dams will reach or exceed their design life by 2020," says DNR Director Keith Creagh. "Many dams are abandoned, no longer serve any useful purpose, degrade our aquatic resource, and pose safety hazards to downstream residents."

The program will provide funds and technical assistance to local and state units of government, non-profit groups and individuals to manage dam removals, repairs and maintenance projects.

DNR says it will focus on projects that reduce the state's long-term infrastructure costs, while also addressing those that pose an imminent hazard to the public.

The agency says that nearly 75% of the more than 2,600 dams listed in the state's inventory are privately owned and in poor condition. A 2009 report by the American Society for Civil Engineers gave Michigan's dams a "D" grade on its Dam Infrastructure Rating report.

An application for the program can be obtained online here, but submissions must be postmarked by Dec. 1 to be considered for the 2013 fiscal year.

For more news about dam safety, visit here.

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