Removing Small Dams and Plastic Pollution (Happy New Year)

For Friday, Dec. 21, 2018

1 – The Saginaw Watershed Initiative Network is working with a nonprofit in Gaylord to help open up more waters to fish spawning.

The object is to identify small, obsolete dams that are fragmenting rivers across the region.

Small dams are found on private and public lands throughout Michigan. Many were installed decades ago and may be in disrepair and at risk of failing.

Dams can prevent fish from passing upstream, blocking them from suitable spawning habitat.

The nonprofit, called Huron Pines, is offering its expertise in the program.

They can meet with property owners to talk about options and provide information about dam removal, the permitting process, funding opportunities and more.

The nonprofit is managing two removal projects next year, in Clare and Alcona counties.

small dam michigan pine river huron pines removal
Small dam on the East Branch Pine River, Alcona County. Planned for 2019 removal. Credit: Huron Pines

Anyone interested in consultation or assistance or learning more about small dam removal is encouraged to contact Josh Leisen at or (989) 448-2293 x16 for information and/or to schedule a free visit to discuss dam management options.

The program is funded in part by a grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, which is funded by area foundations.

2 – An environmental group is celebrating accomplishments in cleaning up Great Lakes trash.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes organizes ongoing Adopt-a-Beach volunteer cleanups across the state. The alliance says 2018 has been a busy year, when tens of thousands of volunteers and advocates joined a fight against plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.

silhouette photography of group of people jumping during golden time
Photo by Belle Co on

More than 22 million pounds of plastic enter the lakes each year, according to research, and the alliance says there are a number of ways people helped combat that pollution this year.

More than 6,000 people took a plastic-free pledge to reduce plastic use and speak out on the issue.

More than 15,000 Adopt-a-Beach volunteers worked to keep coastlines clean, removing 18.5 tons of trash across all five of the lakes.

Close to 400 people joined the conversation about plastic pollution via an advocacy toolkit from the alliance.

July 1, 2018, also marked the final phase of a federal ban on the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads.


– Mr. Great Lakes is heard Friday mornings in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes


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