Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday, July 13, 2012

CLICK HERE for Dam Removal Short-Clip !!!

A new movment, a new movie. At last, dam removal is making sense and penetrating the public!!!

And take action on our site.
We have supplied WHO TO WRITE within our posts.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Response to RFP turned in today

Our group of volunteers and myself have put together a rough response that sends the following message:

Dear Niles,

Did you know.....There are local, state, and federal sources ready to assist Dam Owners with the cost and process of dam removal? The monies are available to obtain so it costs the city nothing.

A project manager should be assigned to coordinate the effort. This position is paid for with grants and costs the city nothing.

The same organizations that are willing to help have extensive experience nationally and locally in Berrien County with the complex dimensions of conducting a dam removal.

Did you forget your council moratorium in 2009 that you would remove the dam if it could be done without cost?

There are some nagging and previous beliefs and assertions about compliance, the recommendations by the MDNR, and other claims are patently false, and perpetuating mis-understanding and hearsay.
Aggravating the situation is that several of the volunteers begging the city to consider this option are from out of state, and therefore have less importance.

Editorial Comment:  I will assume, then, that the dam owners and buyers and hydro-operators must be from Niles, also? Hmmmm.....

Our goal is to have a group of organizations ready to present a brief outlline of how they can help if the city wants to proceed.  They have agreed in principle that dam removal is the preferred option, and also are willing ot assist the city in this daunting task.

US Fish and Wildlife Service
The Army Corps of Engineers
Trout Unlimited
Friends of the St. Joe River
South West Michigan Planning Commission
Michigan United Conservation Council

Thanks,.............more to folllow

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Watervliet dam removed at ZERO cost to Taxpayers

The Watervliet dam on the Paw Paw river, 15 minutes north of Niles is being knocked down as we speak ! 
(Maybe the 2 mayors should chat over coffee?)

Cost to residents:  
Cost of restoring a river to its natural state:        


READ all about it !!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Request for Proposal: WHAT TO DO WITH OUR DAM ? : October 3rd


The Dowagiac River Keepers is one of several recipients of a forthcoming Request for Proposal
to be issued October 3rd. by the Dam owner, the city of Niles.

Other recipients include: private firms and other interests regarding dam purchase, dam re-construction/rennovation/overhaul/repair.

Conference calls will resume once again to arrange for group contributions and participation in this document including an alternate proposal bid involving land purchase as one of 2 desirable options to meet the goal of dam removal and river restoration while limiting indeminification/liability for the possible stake-holders.

More to follow.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Please * READ THIS FIRST * : Intro/Background/Purpose

Dear Reader,

Thanks for stopping by!  We're glad you took  time to visit.

We hope that this site will  educate and inform you about the proven benefits of dam removal and river restoration.  We also hope to give you background, history, and progress on the Dowagiac River's situation as it unfolds. Lastly, we have framed the major questions and concerns we've heard about this matter post-by-post, so you can visit each one as you'd like. 

Why did we do this? In November, 2010 several volunteers and river stewards learned that  limited options for the dam were being moved with little or no public input or knowledge. We felt that education and awareness of the local residents would create some much-needed attention of the city, media, and local landowners.  There is much rumour and hearsay with issues like this.

We'd like to express that removing dams is a legitmate and viable option; but unfortunately this complex issue doesn't have easy or good information has been centralized. So, here's out shot at making it easier.

There are 33 posts inserted since December that contain a bit of editorial at the top; but also tons of factual data, short movies, DNR reports, and quotes from experts about the following items:  

The fishery impact, the sediment situation, property values, hungry-water, flooding, hydro-electric questions, tax-payer worries, and more.

Niles Residents:  Whether this dam is removed, or the dam is sold, or a new one is built:
Please  note that NONE of these outcomes have to  impact your tax bill !!!  This is a HUGE misunderstanding.

If you read through each topic post, and decide you support the City's consideration of dam removal, simply reading and browsing here is nice, but truthfully nothing will change. To be candid--  you must step up and 'do' something. The most important thing you can do is urge the city to seriously consider this option---- like they promised to do back in 2003.    

An important part of this site includes some 'TAKE ACTION'' posts supplied alongside this page site that convey your thoughts simply by  "pointing and clicking."


Dams are being removed and rivers are being restored to original flows in increasing numbers every year. This benefits many stake-holders and users of a river system; rather than just a council or committee that may not have a personal interest.  We will demonstrate how and why rivers are being restored-- with real examples from across the United States,  Midwestern towns that are practically identical to Niles, other destination areas in Michigan, and even within Berrien County.

At one time, dams served an important role and many of them still do today. However, dams were not built to last forever, and eventually outlive their usefulness.  Even while dams sit there,even if inoperable, they silently continue to degrade the water quality. Increasingly stronger storms prove that many dams weren't built for purposes of flood-control. The Pucker street dam is a prime example of this.  Its function of restraining water affects a natural tool in river systems known as a 'flood-plain'; and takes it out of the equation.

As a result, high waters can run unpredictably in a more lateral fashion, instead of downstream. If the dam is to be brought back on-line, it will certainly need to have impounded flows to meet the predicted revenues suggested.

Structurally, the extreme temperatures of summers, winters, and powerful flows of water eventually weaken concrete structures much more rapidly than those on land.  One significant defect lies in the powerhouse (the red brick building with the graffiti on it). The powerhouse is tilted, and the sensitive generators, bearings, bushings cannot operate with the current situation.

The dam prohibits the natural downstream flow and movement of sediment. In agricultural drainages like the Dowagiac, this dynamic is even more crucial to preserve. For perspective on this, the river is supposed to move between 1 and 5 tons of sediment per day; much higher than other streams in the area.

Development and municipal progress that gives us more roads, roofs, and streets diverts more runoff into river systems, and causes rivers to push water beyond historic level and flow averages. All of this has happened to the Dowagiac River; and we emphasize --it will continue with increasing regularity with the passage of time, more development, and as stronger weather patterns continue-- unless-- something is changed.

Dam removal can alleviate these concerns.  There is scientific data, film footage,  and historical information that individually, would be labor intensive to compile on one's own.  There are 3 short films that have actual results and interviews with people who were passionately against dam removal, and how education changed their mind.

Make no mistake --we are behind dam removal as an option to heal and restore this river, but we insist that encourage you to draw your own conclusions.  We'll try to keep "pontificating" to a minimum, (as we know how annoying it can be.) We strive to answer  FAQs that other cities wrestled with ---just like Niles--when faced with the same situation.

Time will be taken to de-bunk  very common myths that arise in every town that visits this issue. We take the time to do this because  these mis-understandings led to rumor and confusion.  There are myths about electricity, flooding, property value, insurance costs, impact to the the fishery and environment, what it really means to be 'green' and more. We  strive to support every point with verifiable documentation. The sources are available right here.  If you find anything to the contrary, please--- share it with us; we are learning as we go and are not professional  dam-removing advocates. Any time we find an error--we will seek for a correction, we will note it in our journalism here.

We are a bit patriotic, and remind you that we all have control of the decision-making process;  you can get educated about dam removal , and make an informed decision about the future of your river. 

 The idea was to have us do the leg-work and invest time assembling years of facts, data, results, articles, and evidence--- so YOU don't have to hunt it down to get proof. Its all kept here.

Now we should introduce ourselves, our mission,  and what's driving the contents of this site. And, whats NOT.

For the record:   

Our group of volunteers, the Dowagiac River Keepers, would like to present, through work and evidence, our assertion that removing the Pucker Street Dam "makes sense". Also, that and now is the right time to start a process that takes several years to complete.  Now is the time to assign a project manager to make it happen; and begin a process or restoring the river to its original, unimpeded state.

Our mission statement: 

"To improve the quality and safety of the Dowagiac river".

We are not a fund-raising organization. We are all volunteers.

The purpose of this web blog  is NOT to 'bulldoze' you with bleeding-heart, nasty, emotional, narrow-interest views.  Lets be clear about that. We certainly have an opinion, its been cultivated after research, first-hand observation, discussion with experts, cities who faced the same situation, and people who live near and use the river for a variety of reasons.We hope to give you relevant information, and support our claims, and de-bunk some very typical myths about dams, electricity, flood-control, fisheries, etc.

We are rapidly sketching out "the process", will share it with you as steps develop, so you can come here for the latest news and information. We believe that residents can be educated, informed, and petition their council members---particularly those in the 1st ward---that you have an interest in the future of your river.

Background and Key Facts:

This year, the Pucker Street Dam will be 83 years old. The average life-spans of most dams in the U.S. is 50 years. It was, while in use at its peak performance, capable of producing between 1%-2% of the City's total electrical consumption. The dam was not created for the purpose of flood control. It is in serious disrepair, has sustained 2 near breaches, has caused several flooding and evacuation events, and is blocking a heavy flow of sediment and causing unacceptable levels of arsenic to build.

By reading more, you will see and learn, with clarity, that dams increase the risk of flooding, eliminate a flood-plain, cause serious issues around improper sedimentation; and you can conclude that the previous floodings and evacuations in Niles, the constant scooping of muck;  were a direct result of the dam. It has been withholding and preventing water from flowing the way it was designed to.


Some History:

DID YOU KNOW:   The City of Niles, in a previous moratorium, has already voted and  agreed to dam removal and issued a commitment to do so, -- provided there were funds to pay for it. 
DID YOU KNOW:     In recent years,  funds are now available, and have been allocated at unprecedented levels across the U.S. for  thousands cities, whose dams are rapidly outliving their usefulness.  

DID YOU KNOW:  An environmental consulting firm (Kleinschmidt Energy and Water Resource Consultants) was paid in 2009 by Niles to evaluate trying to turn the dam back on. Their recommendation was that it is not economically feasible to do so.

DID YOU KNOW:    The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, has gone on record in reports, in articles in the press, and at city meetings twice--and stated they recommend removal of the dam.

DID YOU KNOW:     The Dowagiac river is considered to be the highest quality river-system in southern Michigan. Many intuitively feel what the DNR knows: with removal, it has the potential to get even better.


Editorializing for a moment:   
Considering the above facts, it was deeply concerning to us that representatives from 3 states had to drive in and remind the city of these facts before they proceeded along.

Question for Skeptics:    

If you think the dam is still an asset to the community; and that the ole' girl still has life in her; please consider this:

What do dams make? Electricty? Nope. They make MONEY.  This dam is a tool the city owns outright that once produced electricity for free. Yet, despite 15 years, a recession, job losses ,a  budget that is in a tail-spin, the dam can't be used to help matters. The Niles electric utility dept. has expert staff --former nuclear engineers,, extremely competent, capable, and qualified to handle dam operations.  A lot of the red tape has already been navigated. Everything is ready to go.

So Why on Earth;  hasn't the city gotten it going again?. 

If the assertions made by a few out there were true, and this dam is a 'good thing' for the city, it would be the biggest dereliction of duty in the history of small-town politics to ignore that potential for 16 years.  

Why would the city  sell the goose that lays the golden egg? You should already know. Its because the expense and effort to re-invest, and bring it on line for a measly 250 KW average is  grossly more than the long-term benefit. That's why.  Simple economics. 

Dams and their equipment don't last forever. Despite the chest-pounding from zealots not seeing the big picture, there really, truly, is a point of diminishing return.  This is not a gleaming, hulking, 300 mega-watt wonder owned by a profitable corporae giant. That kind of money-making operation can justify ongoing repair and expense to keep their money-makers running. This one cannot.

Challenge to You

At the core of this matter, we sympathize with the city of Niles. They are very much 'on the hook' and have been forced into an extremely big decision; one that a city only encounters once in its life. They must weigh risk and liability, economics and ecosystems, and make a controversial move on an abandoned structure in unprecedented economic times.  

The temptation to sweep the issue away--to simply take a payment and let private industry have their way with the dam is very tempting.

However, we are not just talking about transferring some property and equipment. You see, that option will not change or improve anything related to the river, the flood risk, the sediment issue,  or the stability of the watershed. The city will benefit, its residents and township residents along the banks will NOT.

In fact, even if  nothing is done, and the dam sits as an abandoned structure, its mere presence will continue to adversely affect water quality. Sediments will continue to be blocked.

The increasing intensity of rain-storms in recent decades is expected to continue to surpass rain patterns of the 1920s  when the dam was built.  Biologically, water temperature and oxygen levels in the water will deteriorate.

From a land and square-footage standpoint, there is now a great concern over the loss of Losensky Park via the sale of property and the area that a private corporation that will have to utilize in  a huge and lengthy re-construction.

Many people are for--- or against --dam removal because of one or two specific reasons or interests. This makes sense, as we've been taught to look out for 'number one'

However, the river isn't a private resource for just you.  If you personally want to leave things as they are, and keep the dam in place.....perhaps you should ask yourself about that reason. Is is broad and philanthropic? Is it long-term? or short-term? Is the reason specific and narrow ?  Removal of a dam affects many different types of stakeholders in many ways. For a long, long time. We get that. We' try to each of those stakeholders here.

You see, we have learned multitudes in our work. Removing an obsolete dam is not just an issue about improving flood-control. Or abating toxins. Or doing it 'just because' the money is there and we should all  'go green'. Or trying to improve property values. Or pretending a piece of concrete is an 83-yr old monument with fond memories attached--so  adventurous teenagers can climb on it. Or easier stream access for  families. Or letting wild fish migrate and reproduce unimpeded. Or getting a better kayaking destination.   Its about all those things, but ultimately, its a commitment to restore a river that was perfectly fine before humans dammed it.

It was used to produce 1%-2% of the cities power many years ago. It is no longer capable to do that job.  We have visited  walked, waded, and paddled restored rivers in many states in the midwest and in Berrien county before, during, and after dam removal.  The results have inspired us to share with you what is possible. You will soon get to see it for yourself in Watervliet, as they have decided to remove their dam. Last year, 3 dams in Michigan came down with 57 others in the U.S.

So, the Challenge? is to ask that you consider 'all' of the impacts beyond what you as an individual may be most concerned with. Think bigger, think future, think of the opportunity to make significant and lasting impact.

Final Request:

If you thought this information is of any value, and you know of anyone in Niles---,   
Please pass this link on.   The internet makes it very easy for all to get involved, educated and contribute in some small way. Thanks, and please 'do' something; however small.

Information and details are on the side menu....look there for details.

Thank You,

Dowagiac River Keepers

Jan 27

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dowagiac Pushing much more water this year: 3 flood stages met so far in 2010

Below is a peek at what the rivers water level and velocity have done since mid February. Basically the river has been running really high; even for this time of year. This is important to note because each time the river levels/velocities reach the 'red-line', it is at flood-stage, and its power and pressure on the dam site get exponentially stronger. An active, structurally sound, operational dam can open flood gates and relieve the stress on the structure. This is NOT the case with the Pucker street dam. It gets really pushed and beaten by the waters when they get above the "7.0"  level in the top graph, and above "600 cfs"  in the bottom graph. 

The red asterisk * in the top graph shows what the average water level height is supposed to be for the 5 months displayed.  The bottom graph shows a  tan string of triangles  which indicates the lifetime average velocity/speed of the waters current.  

As weather patterns change as they have in the last 15 years to more powerful, abrupt, and short-lived storms, the structures around rivers receive faster, stronger, shorter bursts of intense pressure, rather than long gradual build ups.

Normal river pressures on the dam structure occure during  the 6 ft. level and the 300 cfs velocity.  

Whats the point?  Leves of water and velocity of the water are on an increase year after year.  

I have a sinking feeling that this dam will not hold up to continued flood events in its degrated state.

But lets make this a positive post. !!!!

If the the dam were removed, this water would not be held back or confined any longer. It would stop backing up and rising to spread to the roads, homes, and property of Niles Township residents living above it. The water could flow and relieve itself without interruption.  And the mayor and city administrator could stop worrying so much each time it rains. And they would not have to pay insurance the way they do today.

I have some solace in the fact that each time this river approaches red-line, the mayor and city admistrator silently wonder---and have that "Oh Shit" feeling that starts to lurk, if only for a day or so until the waters begin to receed.  For the time being. Maybe not the next time, folks.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Niles will create and issue an RFP


Niles will hire out a firm for $2,800 with their mission to create a RFP (request for proposals)  for parties who wish to buy the dam and bid on it.

I wonder if they will allow anyone to buy the dam with the purpose of removing it.  We are trying to get a copy of the RFP when it comes out.

Anyway, here's the article:


Friday, April 29, 2011

Newspaper Endorsment for 'mystery hydro' gets blasted

Here is a letter to the editor of the Niles Daily Star, who chose to endorse the concept of never-before seen or used kinetic turbines for the sale of the Pucker Street Dam to Falling Waters, LLC out of South Bend, Indiana.

After researching the firm, its credentials, its clients, its former probations and fines from the Indiana Attorney General, and the style of kinetic top-water turbine power proposed, we conclude that there will be zero benefit to the city beyond its $100,000 price tag.  We also are sketpical that this site would actually become the first power source of its kind in the United States with so little fanfare and such meager power capacity.

The only gain we see thus far is that a 2 person firm will get some property, try and glean 7.9 million in grants. They will  only created private revenues and no electrical benefit or tax revenues given to Niles.

CLICK HERE to Read the 4/29 Letter to the Editor !!!

This is the Editorial in question---published by the Niles Daily Star in support of Vapor-Ware.  See below:


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

RFPs for Dam Ideas round 2 coming out. ETA: Early-June

Another round of RFPs (Request for Proposal) is being issued by the cityand will be distributed  to Parties wishing to propose options and bid for the Pucker Street Dam.

Occasionally, agencies are bound by requirements to have at least 2 bidders for fairness and equity.   There is currently 1 bidder. Falling Waters, LLC. The other 2 bidders, per my last interview, have all but removed themselves due to the current condition and future potential of the dam site.

The volunteers here will be getting a copy of the RFP from Niles City Administrator Terry Eull---- to hear the requirements, due dates, and details; and we will share them with you---assuming this is a FOIA protected thing. If for some reason it cant be publicly shared, we will abide by those terms, but will always keep a fresh update available.

Trout Unlimited, American Rivers, and the Friends of the St. Joe River will also be getting a copy so they may consider our proposal that they undergo a purchase/cooperative partnership to make a move on the site.

More to follow..........

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Leave my taxes alone----free power is GOOD !!!!!

We've gotten some commentary from folks that live in Niles that goes something like this:

"  Hey, the chance to make free hydro-power and not involve taxpayer dollars is good. Good for the general society.  Why would you want to remove and shut down everything?"   I don't want to start seeing my taxes go up--- because of a dam removal"

Whether the dam is sold ---or removed, Niles residents will see little or zero change to their taxes.  The money do do both of these things comes from grant sources; one source for builders, and the other for dam removers.

If the dam is sold to Falling Waters, LLC and they start making power, Niles gets NONE.  This will simply be a real estate deal for the city. Understand, your taxes wont change, and there will be no impact to your electric bill from this transaction.

Aesthetically; There will be a long, drawn-out construction process. There could also be a blockade of access to visitors. Normal Stuff.

Now if you believe in harnessing hydro-power in general, as a good use of a resource that goes back centuries; we hear ya; and we agree with you, too!!!

Traditional Hydro-Dams that are productive and functioning and safe are great. Great for residents, great for business. Environmentalists are even appeased when cleanup plans,  fish ladders, and strict adherence to water quality rules have to be followed.   

But--- understand that the 2 companies the city invited to bid have on traditional hydro-power sytems have withdrawn immediately after getting the real details on the site. 

The big, behemoth power companies in the midwest who sell power on a large scale, have dams already (like AEP has on the St. Joe river and sells to Niles)---they would have snapped this up years ago if it was worth it at all.

Dams don't last forever. This one is like so many in the US that are falling apart, creating liability, and degrading the quality of rivers just by being there.  This dam cannot be brought back to life to provide traditional hydro-power.  There are no actively participating owners who are monitoring safety or water quality.

Niles is a city with BIG budget problems, like  a lot of municipalities.   They would have certainly been smart enough to get it on-line again if the payoff was worth it. They hired an environmental engineering firm to find out. They said "dont do it"  This is not a cash cow for anyone. I have seen nothing by Falling Waters LLC except that they'd like to do 'this', and hope to get 'that.' But no credentials, no evidence, plans, schematics, photos. Nothing.

Bottom Line?:   If you want to see something good come out of this dam issue with a sale to a hydro company, you should be wondering about some things you havent seen or heard.

If you just want to see a land deal go through and a shift of liability, then who cares. 

If you'd like to see the river restored and improved for recreation, safety, tourism, land values, and cleaner higher quality water, then look at other towns who did something to make it happen.

And yet, the Niles Daily Star editorialized that they back this new, never proven, small new company mystery-hydro option.  While I applaud people embracing new and unique technology, we haven't seen anything at any meetings they have presented at.

An opinion/editorial like that; which reaches out to 20,000 subscribers--without any facts or investigation should be suspect. (Just my opinion.)


Sunday, April 17, 2011

FREE Dam Removal Consultations Available

The Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  

...can help the city coordinate a Dam Removal Study complete with details, costs, time-lines, and specifics to dam owners facing the issue of whether to do it---or not. It is custom built for each site, so that unique considerations are factored into each project. Dam removal is their specialty and expertise.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a division in Chicago, IL that handles these studies, has done several recently in Indiana and Michigan, and then assists in assigning a project manager's role. One person in particular, Len Kring, is heavily involved in the Michiana area, and is extremely excited and willing to help; but they need to get involved and requested by the dam owner.

A project manager is the person who gets a project like a dam removal done. They are the hub; the main funnel point for all players involved.  They coordinate and obtain grant money, meet and update the stake-holders, inspections, permits, etc. Its a paid position, and grants will also pay the expenses for this role --so the dam owner doesn't have to.

Speaking of Grants, DID YOU KNOW  there's one federal grant called GLFR that is especially for the great lakes and their tributary systems. Its a very robust allotment of funds.  Just this ONE grant pays 63% of the total cost of dam removal and restoration. That includes all the clean up, the project manager; anything and everything related to the project.....Regardless of how much it costs! Thats just one grant from the Federal Level.

After the federal money is given, then there is access to the various state, regional, and philanthropic organizations that the project manager obtains. 

The funds are available. 

Don't believe me?

Ask the mayor of Watervliet how much it cost the tax-payers.

...Or Stronach.

....Or Glass Creek.

...Or Romeo

...Or Charlotte

....etc., etc.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Word of the Day: Indemnification

An indemnity is a sum paid by A to B by way of compensation for a particular loss suffered by B. The indemnitor (A) may or may not be responsible for the loss suffered by the indemnitee (B). Forms of indemnity include cash payments, repairs, replacement, and reinstatement.

Sometimes, when sales or contracts are signed, attorneys get very nervous about not getting rid of indemnity.  Example: Toyota sells you a car, and the gas pedal sticks, and you crash and get injured, Toyota is going to have to compensate you. They owe you an indemnity.Toyota was not indemnified.

Lets say that everyone knows about the gas pedal problem, but parties are eager to buy and sell; even with some risk.  So a year later, Toyota sells you another car. but, in order to buy the car, you create a waiver form that eveyone signs---stating that you know about the gas pedal issue and if it sticks,and you are injured, that Toyota will NOT have to compensate you. Toyota is now INDEMNIFIED, or protected from responsibility.

What does this have to do with Dam Removal?

I just completed an interview with one of the companies who proposed buying the dam last year. They seemed concerned and are not very excited about the money-making potential. The city actually sought out and located potential buyers; and invited them to propose and bid. The dam site has not been actively sought out by potential buyers thus far.

This particular firm has a big issue with INDEMNITY and city dams....and have had to walk away from deals that were perfect from a business standpoint. Buyer and seller were happy. But the attorneys were NOT, and could not accept the validity and soundness of the (former) dam owner trying to escape INDEMNITY. They were afraid they would never be properly INDEMNIFIED.

In a recent interview, this same buyer took this aspect of the deal and felt complelled to take a closer look. Why? Since the Pucker street dam has had structural damage done do it. Its old, its broken, its out of operation.  There is a dam inspection report in 2009 that outlines these in detail.

Their conclusion is that even if a buyer of the dam has its attorneys and insurance company create and present numerous WAIVERS of INDEMNIFICATION to the City as part of the deal...they have been sternly warned that:

Even if the dam is sold outright to some other firm willing to risk it; even if the old dam is gutted, removed, replaced----and  there is some kind of failure, breach, damage, or injury. 

If anything happens to that dam the insurance companies/courts/attorneys of the plaintiff will most likely blow right through all those previously signed waivers, the city will never be fully INDEMNIFIED and will most likely will be held financially responsible for any future incident. 
(as demonstrated by other dam claims cases in the last 10 years)


DID YOU KNOW; that the primary reason for restoring the 'run of the river' and drawing the dam down in 1999 was not for environmental reasons; but mainly due to a safety concern and reducing the risk of dam collapse?

There are large cracks and open seams running down the center of the main concrete structure near the top. By lowering the water level, the risk of collapse is mitigated.


Given the trend with dam sales that make it difficult to escape INDEMNITY when an intact, functioning, on-line, structurally sound dam is considered for sale; ---What do you suppose the odds of INDEMNIFICATION will be for the city of Niles with a dam that has a dam with documented damage, structural degradation, a breach, and cracks in its structure?   

Do you think that Falling Waters, LLC, despite the very best intentions of business and insurance will be able to assure, waive liability, and protect a city from INDEMNITY?





Thursday, March 10, 2011

Article: 2/28 Meeting with City Council

This article covers the topics about what was said.

The paper implies that the buyer would be able to supply 650 homes with power.

Please note: this was given only as an example. If the dam is sold, the buyer will NOT be entering into any deals to supply power or sell power to Niles. So this was just a feature of what might happen if a new dam is built by the buyer at the buyers new site.

Secondly, the $7.9 million dollars to re-work this dam is not an investment by some heavy hitting optimistic financiers. This money would come in the form of grants that need to be approved. The grant applicant has a sketchy past and a present business that has no clients, references, or money.

2/28 Meeting: Niles Daily Star Link



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

TAKE ACTION Here: Call & E-Mail the Council That Votes on This Matter

Make no mistake...In a democracy, your opinion counts!  We encourage you to consider your thoughts on dam removal.


  • City-Hired consultants have recommended NOT producing power with the Pucker Street Dam.
  • The risk of flooding will reduce greatly for home-owners, and eliminate the city's liability for the site.
  • If large, wealthy power companies have passed on buying this site, small, unregistered start-ups approaching the city should be reason for extra due-diligence
  • Funds are available for cities that agree to dam removal; as demonstrated  in Berrien County and other popular Michigan tourism destinations.
  • The Michigan DNR & Environment have recommended dam removal numerous time as a way to improve the overall quality and stability of the river system.
  • Sediment deposition is significantly greater on the Dowagiac, but a 24-hr. per day method is available to reduce it and the toxins--naturally and permanently. For free.
When sending correspondence, include your name, address, and phone number; so that your response may be put into record. You could also consider copying all addresses into a single email to get everyone at once.

A Group List of all available city council e-mails to "Copy and Paste" for your e-mail:

"terry eull" <>; "wskalla" <>; "bettyjarndt" <>; "bcwilliams" <>;"dvanden " <>;

You can "copy and paste"  the above list by:
Highlighting it, 
Right-Clicking whats highlighted and choosing "Copy".
Then, go to your "To" section of email, left-click the cursor in the field, then right-click and choose "Paste"

Individual E-Mails and Phone Numbers:
Send an E-Mail   to City Administrator  Terry Eull
He can  reached at  269-683-4700  (then, press 5-2-1 for his asst. Diane)

Send an E-Mail to City Council Member Bruce Williams. He can be reached at 269-683-3941.

Send an E-Mail  to City Council Member Betty Arndt.  She can be reached at 269-684-3630.

Send an E-mail  to City Council Member William ("Tim") Skalla. He can be reached at  269-362-3142.

Send an E-Mail  to City Council Member Dan VandenHeede. He can be reached at 269-684-4642

Also:   Click HERE to Write the Dam Owners using their Website !


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

*Breaking News*: Dam Collapse & Failure on the Chagrin River

During our meeting with Niles asserting that the dam should finally be removed, a supporter received a TXT in the council chambers about an unfolding catastrophe with another dam.

....Our thoughts and prayers go to the citizens, businesses, and residents along its banks.

Click HERE to read and see Dam Collapse & Failure on the Chagrin River 


Monday, February 21, 2011


"I live in Niles Township: They will not listen to me becasue we don't vote or elect the council"

     Public pressure and sentiment knows no district or ward.   If the dam and river run anywhere near your home, your property, and its near the ecology of a  watershed running right past your back-yard??? Then you ABSOLUTELY have a voice in this process.  I assure you. If  37 of you walk into the meeting that night to address the board, they are NOT going to ask what side of the invisible line you live on.   Think about it:  How can you live next to the dam, along the river  or along  what could  become a flooded impoundment--and NOT have a say in it !

  If you still feel that you can't make a difference? Pick up the phone and call 1 person in Niles City who can speak your opinion for you. OR, have your Township work for you: They represent you to Niles--- and to Berrien county.

Some Thoughts: 

1.   Your township supervisor and trustees interface with the Mayor of Niles and the board frequently on matters that impact both areas. (See below)

2.  You are also a resident of Berrien County. The county has a  "planning commission" that reviews any changes to things like roads, bridges, water, sewer, etc. They can transect several or many towns, cities, and townships, but they also have input and a degree of oversight. The county's finance committee (oddly,) handles issues pertaining to soil erosion and sedimentation issues.

 Niles Charter Township Board of Trustees

Jim Kidwell
Bio Information:
Jim was born and raised in Niles.  He is a 1969 graduate of Niles High School.  After graduation he married Sandy Wolf and they have two daughters, Amy and Tammy. 
Jim has been involved in Police work for over 25 years.  He attended Lake Michigan College where he received an associate degree in Law Enforcement after which he attended the Michigan Police Academy.  Jim has been a patrolman with the City of Niles for over 20 years. 
He and his wife also own and operate Galaxy Roller Rink which they built in December of 1980.  Jim’s life has revolved around the Niles community.  Besides his family’s efforts to maintain a place for the youth of the township to have a safe place to enjoy healthy recreation, he has also coach softball teams at fireman’s park and hosted numerous charity events at his business. 
Serving as the Niles Township Supervisor has been a great honor to Jim.  He enjoys helping the residents of the township as well as serving on the finance and administration committee, roads and drains committee, and public works committee.  Outside of the township committees Jim also serves on the Landfill Authority board and NATS committee.
Contact the Niles Charter Township

Office: 269-684-0870 ext. 21

Jim Ringler
Bio Information:
Jim Ringler, Township Treasurer, is serving his third term.  Jim was appointed to the Township Park Board in 1990 and served as Chairman until he was elected Treasurer in 1996.  Jim also serves as Chairman for the Berrien County Treasurer’s Association, an organization that promotes best practices in treasury administration and management. 

Contact the Niles Charter Township

Office: 269-684-0870ext. 16

Richard Noble
Bio Information:
Dick is serving in his 5th term as Trustee for the Township.  Prior to his election to the Board, he served on the Township’s Civil Service Commission for 5 years.  As a Trustee he is Chairman of the roads, drains & street lights committee and also serves on the building & planning committee.  He is also served as Chairman for the Southeast Berrien County Landfill committee, the Parks & Recreation committee, the Safety committee and the SMCAS ambulance committee. 

Contact the Niles Charter Township

Office: 269-684-0870 ext. 23 (clerk will fwd you thru)

Richard Cooper
Bio Information:
Residing in Niles Charter Township since 1959, Richard, born in 1941, has made it his mission to serve his community and family with diligence, dedication, and reliability. 
Since November of 2000 he has served as one of your Township Trustees.  As a Trustee he serves as Building Safety committee chairperson and committee member, Roads and Drains committee member, Public Facilities committee member, Township representative on the Niles-Buchanan-Cass Area Transportation Study (NATS) and as a planning commissioner with the Niles Charter Township Planning Commission. 

Contact the Niles Charter Township

Office: 269-684-0870 ext. 23 (clerk will fwd you thru)

Gary Conover
Bio Information:
Gary was born and raised in Niles, graduating from Niles High School in 1967. After serving four years in the U.S. Navy, he attended Southwestern Michigan College, graduating with an Associates degree in Applied Science.
Gary and his wife Linda have four grown children; Brian, Katie, Kellie & Keith. He previously served on the Township board as a Trustee from 1992 to 1996. During this term he served on the SMCAS ambulance, Landfill and Safety committees. He enjoys hunting, fishing, woodworking and tinkering with old cars, time permitting.

Contact the Niles Charter Township

Office: 269-684-0870 ext. 23 (clerk will fwd. you thru)


The County Administrator is appointed by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners to implement board policies; to oversee the daily activities of the County, to serve as the Chief Administrative Officer and as the Chief FinancialOfficer, and to supervise the appointed department heads within the County. The central staff within County Administration is responsible to assisting the board in meeting identified goals; developing agenda items for the Board of Commissioners; writing procedures to accompany board policies; providing legal counsel in all county matters; providing Human Resource functions to include recruiting, collective bargaining, health care and compensation issues; Financial Service functions; Purchasing functions; and other general administrative support activities.
William A. Wolf became the County Administrator in January 2005. The Administrator is responsible for directing the Central Administrative functions of County government and acting as a conduit on behalf of the Board of Commissioners between County Officers, department heads, and the general public.

Bill Wolf, County Administrator
Berrien County Administration Center
701 Main Street St. Joseph, MI 49085

Office hours: 8:30am-5:00pm Monday-Friday
Phone: (269) 983-7111, ext. 8601
Fax: (269) 983-5788
 E-Mail: Bill Wolf 


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Feb. 28th Meeting: City Council Committee-of-the-Whole

*****                      PLEASE JOIN US.                  THIS MEANS YOU   ******

Niles City Council              "Committee-of-the-Whole"     meeting

6 P.M.
Niles City Meeting Room @ Niles Fire Department (north entrance)
1350 E. Main Street, Niles, MI 49120

There will be a quick normal city council meeting beginning promptly at 6 p.m.  After what is expected to be a brief meeting and light agenda, the Committee of the Whole portion will begin.  The beginning portion of the meeting starts with 'open mic' opportunities to briefly address the council and express your views and perspective. Then, each of the options for the dam will make a presentation for all.

(Below is content added from 2/19 meeting):
Even if you do not have voting rights in Niles, your presence and living near the river DO have impact. If you know anyone living in Niles 'proper' tell them to participate. This is a major decision and the council will be watching for what kind of interest there is on this matter. Whether you own a home or not. Whether you are a voter--or not. Anyone can speak to the council and voice their opinion. We have, Ken doesn't even live in Michigan--yet we have gotten the city to open doors.

To have your comments perceived respectfully, follow appropriate meeting decorum.

1.) To the city clerk, clearly state your name and address.
2.) Formally greet the Mayor, and then the council group in that order.
3.) Explain to them what you want to talk about.
4.)Then, talk about what you want to talk about. Try and limit your viewpoint to 1 minute; unless questions      are asked of you and a 2-way dialogue begins.

After the open session, there will be presentations by the MDNR, Paterson, Falling Waters, LLC and Hope Energy explaining their view of the Dam's future and what is best for the city and public at-large.

Remember, KEEP it CIVIL and CALM. There is nothing that ruins credibility faster than emotional "hot heads" who do not respect the rules of the game.  There is a LONG way to go, and this is only the third of many, many steps to come. When running a marathon, it isn't wise to trip on your way out the front door the day of the race !!

Afterward, an informal, gathering will be held at Nuggets, at 202 Main St. in downtown Niles for the discussion to continue. Arguing and fist-fights are not part of the agenda.


2/19 Meeting Summary / Recap / Corrections

Thanks to all that attended the community information meeting. Thank You.

We hope it educated and informed you on the benefits of dam removal.
Whatever side of the issue you decide on, we stress that participating has tremendous influence.

Regarding the film, the discussion, the presentation?  We tried to collect the relevant info, but we don't  expect perfection. Our main goal was that it was a productive use of peoples time.

Now, some housekeeping and corrections to note on topic-points:

1.)  There was an answer the speaker made that during the '08 flooding episode, that all 5 gates of the dam were open at the time the river was really up and snortin'.

He based his answer by viewing some film: and seeing  the 5 streams of water coming down from the dam in some aerial footage we got from Jessica.

BUT, We were told by people at the meeting who were on-site that day that there were 3 gates open.  The reason: The other 2 gates were inoperable.  OK, our bad. Also note:  If you check out the film in the link below at 1:02, it seems like there are actually only 2 gates open. Am I right on this or wrong?  Is this a "grassy-knoll"  moment? Not a major deal. Water under the bridge.

Click here for the 5-chutes vs. 3-gates matter

We'll say 'our bad' on answering that pop quiz wrong. We will always seek to find facts and correct

. And if only 3 out of 5 gates were open? Then,  SHAME on the city for not having it able to be open with 5.
If the gates are broken, they should be repaired. Not for hydro-generating purposes, either. Its a major safety issue.  Or not. Then just get another team of volunteers and pay them overtime to help with even more sand-bagging.

Moving On........

2. )   We have corrected/re-worded the claim he made of an increase of  river cfs of 5% if the dam were removed.  The author (me) had confused cfs with speed when inquiring on the DNR made this prediction.'s the Clarification:   The SPEED of the river will increase 5% if the dam is removed. verified by DNR.

3.)  At one point, there were words which may have been mis-spoken (by accident, the speaker was quite nervous) that conflicted about Dams and Flooding.

So, The 4 points on flooding that are verifiable facts, available in provided data on the site,  are re-asserted here:

  • Most Dams are not built for flood control purposes.
  • The Pucker Street Dam was not built for flood control purposes.
  • Dams that are not built for flood control purposes INCREASE the risk of flood.
  • Dams that are not built for flood control purposes and are impounded for purposes of power    generation---and have raised water levels (for use in hydro-power generation)   SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE the risk of flood.

So sorry if the presenter flubbed up on his words; it appears he got de-railed a bit.

Moving On.......

4.)   In our demonstrating the difference in property values on a blue ribbon river vs. a river like the Dowagiac....while we have shown the large price difference gap, we will verify what the tax rates are on the home, and whether the home on the Pere Marquette butts-up against federal land. More to follow, and we will update it right here when the Berrien and Lake counties call us back.

5.)   There was a concern that people who don't vote, those not living in Niles proper have "no leverage, no power" to influence the council. This is a point that could be argued; and it will:


Here's a thought for all :   If the 37(?)  people who showed up to this meeting ---show up on the meeting on the 28th? This will have a tremendous impact on the importance of this issue. The newspaper will be sure to dedicate a chunk of this in the following weeks news. Gauranteed.

I have been to 4 city council meetings in Niles.  There is usually 2-3 businesses trying to get a some approval on zoning on something, 2-3 police or firefighters sor of hanging out, a couple people upset about the garbage service or their tax bill. Also, a reporter from the paper who hangs back and takes notes. Thats about it.   

IF YOU LIVE ALONG THE BANKS OF THE RIVER, YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT and RELEVANT TO MAJOR VOTES THAT AFFECT THE RIVER AND YOUR HOME. If you attended our meeting, don't think for a moment that its all for 'naught'.  Giving up? Not gonna show on the 28th? Then how bout this:   Do you know any Niles residents who DO have voting rights? Tell THEM to show up and speak on your behalf. There........problem solved.

Whether you are from Niles, Niles Township, or Bolingbrook, IL.  There is a direct relationship between influence on a community decision ....and butts-in-seats filled with people who step to the mic.

No, I cant give you data, but when people show up and speak up, even without a formal procedure and vote----things can change.  Don't belive us? Please Google:  
" Mubarek resigns as President of Egypt" Dramatic? yes. 
But  involvment, participation, and speaking up can and does happen in local politics, folks. And it works.

Henry Ford said it best:

"Whether you think you can or you cant?   Either way, you're Right".

See you on the 28th.     With  questions prepared.



How Many Dams Removed in 2010?

You can see for youself:

here, which lists them alphabetically, by state.

(By the way, the answer is   60.    3  of which occured in Michigan.  The Watervliet dam removal project is not 'quite' finished---so wasn't included in the 2010 tally)


What about the Fishery? How will Removal Impact It?

This post is trying to give you the facts about how the existing fish  upstream of the dam and visiting, migratory fish downstream would respond to the dam being removed and the river being restored to its original state.  This is based on scientific and geo-morphologial studies, surveys, and samplings over many years by many experts in their field.

Click HERE to read an excellent summary of the ecological benefit/impact of dam removal.


When a dam is removed in a high-quality river system like the Dowagiac, here's what experts expect to occur:

  • The average annual temperature will reduce by an average of 2 degrees F.
  • The amount of dissolved oxygen in the water will increase year over year throughout the entire main stem.
  • The rivers speed, is estimated to increase increase  5%*           (*edited 2/19 from a prior assertion of cfs velocity; Ken's mistake)
  • The sediment layer above and below the dam site will begin a constant, daily progression out of the river.
  • The accumulated arsenic in the sediment from agricultural runoff will safely disperse and move out, and levels can consistently drop into safe ranges (assuming there are no increases in chemical input, of course).
  • As the sediment is allowed to transport as it had prior to the dam construction, oxygen storing gravel will be exposed in increasing quantities each year.
  • The river will get deeper on average, especially in areas that used to hold sediment for 83 years.

So What?    What does this all mean? 

It means water that is cooler, cleaner, faster, and  healthier for fish. It means that habitat will be created through restoration--naturally---with gravel and increased biomass and food chain that encourages them to reproduce and grow naturally; with less artificial stocking and plants that utilize state fish hatcheries.

Upstream Fish:

There are native species that live upriver of the dam today, most notably brown trout; which are naturally reproduced to a small extent, but more typically artificially stocked.  By experiencing the above changes, natural reproduction will increase. The upstream fishery will improve.
Those same "upriver" trout will also have the ability to spread throughout the system, unimpeded and have more habitat to roam. (Kinda like "free range" fish, if you will.)

Downstream Fish: 

There are migratory species that visit the downriver portion below the dam. The Dowagiac has never received supplemental stocking of steelhead and salmon. However, the quality of the water, in spite of the dam, is irresistible to them.  Anglers from as far away as Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin understand this, and visit every year.

Most notably, the predominant migratory species that migrate in from the St. Joseph river are salmon, steelhead trout, walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, catfish, and once upon a time, sturgeon !! 

During their annual spawning migrations, each specie will once again be able to transit to the ideal spawning and rearing habitats that the river offers, which will increase in available area as flow volumes begin to remove the sediment blanket, and expose the spawning gravel used to deposit eggs and rear newly hatched fry.  

Rivers of a similar quality have seen the above occurences over and over consistently across the U.S.  More locally, restored rivers have documented  fish populations (in this case, rainbow and brown trout) before and 4 years after-- dam removal and documented a 4x-6x increase in trout and salmonid populations.   There is a post in this blog referencing an MDNR study which sites this research from a removal and restoration that occured in Stronach, Michigan on the Pine river. Another similar result is summarized in the film posted here entitled "Preparing for the Future"


"Trout and salmon cant live together. Salmon invade, and compete for habitat and the salmon cannibalize the trout. The population will get ruined."

Answer:    FALSE.    FALSE.   FALSE.     FALSE.
Contrary to popular angler belief, which to date is unsupported by any data--trout and salmon can and do co-exist successfully. There are  hundreds of rivers in the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions that point to this; which thrive and have inter-mingling salmonid species. Right in our own area, there are numerous destination fisheries in Michigan that receive thousands of visiting anglers who pursue them with flyrods, bait, plugs, spoons, and spinners.One well known river that contains trophy populations of all species is the Pere Marquette.  We should also recall that brown trout, a specie of concern for many supporting this argument, are an artificially planted species (just like salmon) that were dumped put into Michigan waters after being shipped over from Germany.  

In fact, a club you may have heard of, Trout Unlimited, is one of the largest, best organized proponents of dam removal to improve trout habitat and water quality in general.

(The below 2 pp. added on 2/19)
Hear us out:   You may not "want" the trout and salmon to mix. Thats OK. That is a preference of seeing species separated. But it is UNTRUE to say they can't live together and that salmon or steelhead are invaders that ruin populations. For roughly 10 weeks out of the year, salmon show up, drop eggs, and die.

People who make these contentions have either not observed the other flourishing fisheries in Michigan, or have ignored obvious, visual evidence.  By the way: the hundreds of thousands of salmon eggs and thousands of parr provide a new and extremely valuabe and easy-to-catch food source for trout. Trout in some river systems put on 50% of their weight gain from gorging on these new sources.

The rotting carcasses of salmon are excellent sources of material eaten by various nymphs and crustaceans like crayfish; another vital food source for trout.  This, as you may be concluding is something known as the "food chain". And it works pretty well, we think.

Show us the studies that conflict with documented fisheries management practices by expert in biology--and we will publish them.

Don't believe it?    GOOD!
Click here to verify that TU loves dam removal to improve trout ecosystems.

In summary, the fishery stands to derive immediate and measurable benefit to a great degree by river restoration and dam removal. More fish, more naturally reproducing fish, fish that can withstand the extreme high and low temperatures of Michigan's weather, and less dependence on state-sponsored planting of hatchery-reared fish.


 "Sediment is BAD. Gravel is GOOD. Sediment is horrible, its awful. It needs to be removed from the river to expose gravel and let the water be crystal clear and let natural vegetation grow. Sediment robs carbon dioxide and creates a hostile substrate. The river needs to flush all the sediment downstream and out of the river"

Answer?    FALSE.

Too much sediment in one place can be harmful. Too little sediment in one place can also be harmful.  Optimal river health seeks a balance of sediment across the entire length, and will release 'some' un-needed sediment naturally.

Think of a river-bed  like a brick wall that lays at a 20 degree angle. Wood, rocks, shells, and other substrate are the bricks. Sediment is like the mortar.  If you remove too much mortar, the rain and water will move across the bottom with less resistance and will wash away other underlying materials that are supposed help support the wall and keep it up. The wall, with no mortar --settles and shifts very rapidly. This process eliminates what is more commonly known as "  riffles"".

DID YOU KNOW:  In dams that are removed, the sediment that is trapped and collected, is sometimes loaded into dump-trucks and brought to DOWNSTREAM river areas to help repair/reinforce areas that have been 'sediment-starved,' and eroding too rapidly.

  In those areas, there wasn't enough mortar in the brick wall, and things beneath and to the sides of it were getting washed away (eroded) too quickly. So you see, the proper balance of sediment prevents, not causes the problems.

Still don't believe us?    Whatever.

Take the challenge:   Pick up the phone, contact the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to confirm anything above, or to ask  further questions. They have been recommending dam removal and river restoration to improve the fishery.

They are expecting your call !

Jay K. Wesley
Southern Lake Michigan Unit Manager
621 N. 10th Street
Plainwell, MI 49080
269-685-6851  Ext.  117


What about Sediment?

Pucker Street Puddin'.

One of the concerns regarding dam removal is that the years of accumulated silt and debris at the upper base portion of the dam will come crashing down into the river, making horrible mud slides of everything downstream "for years and years".  Make no mistake, the river will want to cleanse itself. Why don't we consider allowing it to this time around?

**(inserted 2/19)  Here's how one expert at the DNR OPINED how he might handle sediment  if the dam is removed. Not the offical strategy; as it isn't an official project yet:

"The process of dam removal can help manage the sediment for the long-term life of the river. To deal with accumulations over the years, The DNR would install a sheet pile dam above the existing dam, which would have stop logs that could be pulled to control the draw down. Perhaps drawing it down at one foot per week.  They would also  maintain a sand trap to remove sediment as it came down." --  J.Wesley, MDNR

Consider this analogy for a moment:  When a pipe is clogged in your sink, and you wish to cleanse it, you must flush out the offending material. Rivers that are un-dammed do this naturally and constantly. Dammed rivers do not, and are robbed of this dynamic. The photo above shows what a great job human engineering does trying to duplicate a free-flowing river. We conclude that its a little cheaper to let it happen naturally.

FACT:  The Dowagiac is supposed to move between 1 and 5 tons of silt per day.

FACT:  Withholding sediment from depositing naturally will remove riffles, create sediment starved water, and accelerate erosion in downstream portions of the river; grinding away at them much faster than the banks can sustain.  You see, 'too much' sediment is bad for the water above a dam, and TOO LITTLE creates serious erosion problems below the dam.

Don't believe us?    GOOD !  Please refer to pp. 8 and 9 of:

If the dam is removed, ---starting immediately, there will be a scary looking plume of silty thick water coming down. However, with a head-start and  the above management technique,  the previous sediment removal  won't be anywhere near as bad as it could have been. Why?

The Dowagiac has a major benefit in reducing this components effect, unlike other dams.

The dam was "drawn down" in 1999.  This process allowed a large portion of that collected sediment (not all of it) to rinse its way downstream. The remainder was removed over a period of weeks at cost to the city. When all were agreed that the sediment removal should stop, it was after $50,000 and 14 cleanings by various contractors. Here are the spoils from 1 cleaning to give some perspective.

 Here is just 30 days worth of Pucker Street Sediment after the previous cleaning of the trap.
Don't kid yourself. The sediment will keep coming, even if the dam comes back on-line, all shiny and new. It will damage the dam turbines and affect water quality, and arsenic makes wading the river  kind of a bummer.  Potential dam buyers may not realize the heavy sediment load that makes this river unique among others that have been dammed. Farmers will keep farming, and runoff will keep running.

In less than 3 years after this cleaning operation,  river-users and residents reported that the new, flushed sediment was almost completely gone from the riverbed below this mess.Imagine that.

A level of arsenic in this dam sediment was discovered, and readings were taken that were beyond established tolerances. Arsenic is commonly found in runoff sediment as a by-product of agricultural and farming chemicals.  It is also used in potato farming. Apple orchards with cores, stems, and seeds, all organic--have arsenic in them.  

Natural river flows allow these trace amounts to leave and dissolve in a normal, safe pace.  Dams allow these particulates to gather and collect in a condensed area, making them a conscern.  Those levels of arsenic will likely not occur in the current environment----IF the river is free to flush and distribute those particles naturally, rather than let them concentrate and collect. If a dam operation resumes, and impounding happens; the sediment game will begin all over again.

Remember the reason for the silt and sediment accumulation and resulting arsenic? Its there because a dam was erected to hold it back.

Looking Ahead:

If development increases, as any Mayor would hope to see, rainwater will have  less ground to absorb rain, and more concrete, streets, roofs, and parking lots  rapidly push water somewhere.  If agriculture practices remain the same, the rich, fortified and expensive topsoil , complete with pesticide, fungicide, and fertilizer, will seep down the fields with heavy spring and summer storms, right into the rivers edge. That edge today? is partially stabilized by green strips along the banks to naturally prevent this. However, the topography of the area,  if viewed on mapquest, will show you the depressed veins of land that lead right to the river. Several farmers in Niles Township understand how leaving a 'buffer zone' between their crop and the riverbank helps keep their soil on their land, and prevents excessive river sedimentation.We applaud them. They get to keep thier rich soil on their land, and help the river in the process. For those that dont, they will turn and till their soil, and it will continue to depress lower on their acreage, leaving a horrible mess of ponds when rains come.

Final Conclusion and FACT:

DID YOU KNOW:    There is a FREE, 24 x 7x 365 sediment-moving system available that doesn't need permits or heavy equipment or authorization from government agencies to conduct these systemic operations. Plus, unlike work-crews, it especially works best during heavy rains--and never requires a break.

If any of this was valuable; please pass this site along to Niles Residents or concerned citizens so they can learn more.