College’s pond dam repairs nearly completed.

September 10, 2015
photos by Rob Alway.

photos by Rob Alway.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

VICTORY TOWNSHIP — The dam restoration project at West Shore Community College is nearly complete with the main road to the college’s Recreation Center and Community Ice Arena once again open to traffic.

The dam forms the college’s scenic pond and controls water flow of the Lincoln River tributary that runs through the 350-plus acre campus.

College spokesman Thom Hawley said corrosion to the dam’s standpipe was discovered during a routine inspection in 2010 and engineers recommended its replacement.

“In addition to the corrosion, the Dam Safety Inspection Report disclosed that approximately 60% of the water flow in the pipe was by leakage through the stop logs and ideally the flow should be over the logs,” Hawley said.

In early July of this year, in preparation for the construction, the pond was lowered approximately six inches per day. Fish within the pond were captured and transplanted to other ponds in Mason and Manistee counties, Hawley said.

“Throughout the entire project, college officials and the inspecting engineer, James Nordlund Jr., have worked with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Quality for design approvals and permitting.”

  During the project, the flow of water downstream from the dam is being maintained with pumps to protect the habitat of the stream, Hawley said. The stream, which existed before the placement of the dam, continues to flow. The stream emanates from underground aquafers and a watershed to the southeast of the college campus.

  Hawley said the original dam and standpipe was constructed in the early 1970s and the original standpipe is what needed to be replaced. “How fast the pond is restored will be dependent on rainfall. Again, flow downstream will be maintained until the water rises to fill the standpipe. At this time, pumps will be removed.”

  While the standpipe has been replaced, dredging of sediment, which has accumulated over time in the north end of the pond near the new standpipe, will be removed. The project is nearly complete.

  Hawley said the river system and pond are used and studied as a part of biology and visual arts courses taught at the college.

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