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The Boardman Valley Preservation Society

Advocates for the scenic Boardman River as well as our hydroelectric dams, and beautiful ponds. Along with you, we endeavor to preserve and restore their economic, historic, and social value.

Our Mission Is To Do Good


These Dam Decisions | Anne Stanton
When Traverse City Light and Power proposed building a 10 megawatt biomass plant (or three or four) earlier this year, people wondered about the wisdom of removing the three Boardman River dams, which once produced more than 2 megawatts of energy each year, enough to power 1,400 homes. The owners, the city of Traverse City and Grand Traverse County, voted last year to dismantle them, but people wonder if it’s too late to reconsider. The cost to remove the dams is about the same as to bring them into compliance and add upgrades to get the river colder.

Why the Dam Hurry? | Anne Stanton
Why the Dam Hurry? Biomass controversy sparks a kinder, gentler look at hydropower By Anne Stanton Fred Kiefer, an older gentleman from northern Indiana, walked down the path of Lone Pine Trail off Keystone Road in Traverse City with his wife, to a place they held dear in their memories. Hung around his neck was a camera, ready to capture a picture of the blue herons, swans, mergansers, and, if he was lucky, a pair of loons. But the scene he remembered was no more. Instead he saw a river with banks of bare dirt and the pond’s exposed bottomlands. He turned to a trio of folks and remarked that water levels must have really dropped. One of the men, a big guy, told him the county lowered the pond level by 17 feet in 2007. “Oh, this makes me sick,” said Kiefer. “I have a picture hanging in my living room from the last time I was here. Fall colors, swans swimming across there. It was gorgeous. This was a big ol’ lake, hundreds and hundreds of birds. We watched an osprey. But it’s dried up. It’s gone. This looks like a savannah.”

Dam Builder Denied | Anne Stanton
Entrepreneur Charles Peterson, who bought the dam equipment from Grand Traverse County for $60,000, is confident that he could run the dams, but his credentials have often been questioned. Ed Rice, director of TCL&P, says that Peterson is a salvager, who has no experience running a hydro dam, and that safety to the town was key. (The previous TCL&P management supported Peterson). Peterson, who buys and sells heavy and high-tech machinery, worked with TCL&P previously, dismantling the coal-fired power plant on Grand Traverse Bay and selling it to a city in Honduras. He holds a degree in industrial and mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of technology. “I’ve been involved in machine retrofits, conversions, plant redesign, plant redevelopment—there’s not an issue here of my credibility to operate,” he said.

Using Stimulus Funds to Advance Hydro Development
The four companies featured in this article are using funds from the Department of Energy, clean renewable energy bonds, production tax credits, and the manufacturing tax credit to modernize plants. On February 17, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus package. This law included financial incentives for the development of some hydropower and other renewable energy sources. In addition, existing funds are available for use in developing new or expanding existing hydroelectric facilities.

Making Small Hydro Easier
New incentives have led to a number of proposals to build small hydropower projects in the U.S. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is considering reforms to streamline the licensing process. Developers of small hydropower projects are seeking big changes in the way their projects are permitted and licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Requests to build small hydro projects, facilities with a capacity of 5 MW or less, have been pouring into FERC, thanks to new tax credits, grants, and initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Elk Rapids Hydro Welcomes Visitors
During Monday afternoon’s public open house at the dam facility on the Elk River, a steady stream of visitors were greeted by hosts Antrim County Drain Commissioner Mark Stone, Coordinator/Planner Pete Garwood, Elk Rapids Hydro Corp. owner William Stockhausen and his son, L. ”Stock” Stockhausen. Joined by Elk Rapids Hydro Corp. representative Sarah Preisler, the group held a public hearing at the Elk Rapids Governmental Center to a packed house Monday evening, followed by an all day meeting for local stakeholders made up of lake associations, units of government and special interest groups who support the dam and it’s impact on the Chain of Lakes watershed.

Keeping Argo Dam is best for Ann Arbor
The dam out claims are: The river will be returned to its original course, improving oxygenation and providing fast(er) water for canoeists. But: improving oxygenation isn’t correcting a total deficiency. I see no evidence that fish species (bluegills, bass, sheepshead) are suffering. The faster water over a 2500 yard stretch would provide about 11-12 minutes of “fast water canoeing.” Draining the pond would provide about 50 acres of additional park land. But: I see no projections for time and money to develop said park land from a mud flat which would be messy and stinky. Even if it were developed overnight: the several vistas of Argo Pond which now exist would be gone forever. Argo Pond is used primarily by rowing crews from U of M and our high schools.

Grafton voters choose to preserve Milwaukee River dam
Grafton - Village voters chose to preserve a piece of community history Tuesday in approving a referendum to keep the 92-year-old Bridge St. dam on the Milwaukee River for at least nine more years. The referendum gained 75% of the vote, ensuring the dam will remain in place through 2019. The outcome is binding on the Village Board. Preservationists rallied local support in response to a board proposal to demolish the dam rather than spending tax dollars to bring the aging structure into compliance with state dam safety laws. The temporary reprieve from the wrecking ball provides time for studying repair or replacement options, members of a local Save the Dam Association said. Last July, the state Department of Natural Resources declared the dam a significant hazard and ordered the village to upgrade or replace the structure by 2019.


Please support us with a contribution: The Boardman Valley Preservation Society, P.O. Box 11, Grawn, MI 49637