Divers will be inspecting the areas immediately downstream of the spillway (the tailrace) at Secord and Smallwood dams this week. These are recommended items from the January 2021 GEI inspection report and are considered interim repairs.
To safely perform the inspections, FLTF may need to operate the gates to provide reduced flow conditions. Per the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) permits obtained for interim repairs, FLTF can open and close the gates while maintaining minimum flow to the downstream area. This has been communicated to EGLE and has been confirmed.
The gates will only be lowered during the inspection (2-3 hours). Dam operators will maintain flow downstream, so at least one gate will remain partially open.
During this time, property owners will not see an increase in water level and at the conclusion of the inspection, the gates will be raised back to their fully open position.
Work will be completed Wednesday. Thursday an inspection will be performed at Sanford Dam. This inspection is part of the NRCS EWP (Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection) stabilization project and will not require any gate closures.
We get several questions every week and try to answer all of them as best we can. We are continuing a feature called "Question of the Week" to address common questions.
Where funding and grants are directed depends on the funding source.
For federal matching grants, a project is approved by the federal government, and once the work is completed, the supplier or contractor sends an invoice to FLTF. FLTF then submits the invoices to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). For the approximately $30 million of funding, the federal grant holds the money, not FLTF or the county
For state funds that are specific to lake restoration, the State of Michigan holds the funds and allows FLTF to draw money from the funds. FLTF then submits invoices to demonstrate the use of the funds, and then the state allows another draw of funds. We expect this will occur the same way for funds currently being considered in legislation. Funds are designated to the “delegated authority of the county.” A project is approved through a bidding process. During projects, the state holds the funds and there are progressive payments based on completion of work and verification of funds spent
Private donations and grants have been given directly to FLTF as a 501(c )(3) non-profit organization. We are obliged to account for them and how they’re spent, and fulfill any reporting requirements the donor requires
For funds spent by the county from its general funds, or funds spent from the Four Lakes Special Assessment District, the counties must approve the funds and oversee the collection of the funds. The counties also have the authority to audit and request reports for funds acquired through assessments. To date, NO funds from the counties or the Four Lakes Special Assessment District have been used by FLTF for the recovery or restoration of the lakes.
FLTF is the delated authority of the counties, through county resolution and a contract with FLTF. The counties’ contract with FLTF requires annual audited reporting but specifically recognizes that FLTF plays the role of general contractor for FLTF. The counties look to FLTF to seek grants and other sources of funding to lower the financial burden on the counties and Special Assessment District.
For funds directed for restoration or recovery, FLTF must follow the process of the grantor, whether that is a federal, state, county or private donor. Much of the state or federal funds remain with them.
On Wednesday, August 18, over 250 people joined our public informational communications webinar. During a panel discussion, engineers, consultants and FLTF leadership shared information about flood studies, tasks required to bring up each lake, and updates on each dam.
Questions submitted via email were answered throughout the presentation and the event concluded with a public comment period. Thank you to everyone who attended!
If you missed the session you may watch a recording or view the slides here.
Below is a summary of some of the information shared.
Flood Studies to Establish the Dams' Capacities
Hydrology and hydraulic studies have been conducted to determine the regional rain and flood frequency. This data will be used to determine the spillway capacity for each dam
Spillway capacity for all dams will be greater than EGLE (Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) requirements because the methodology used in risk-informed decision-making procedures is being considered as the new State of Michigan standard for inflow design flood (spillway capacity needed by a dam)
Secord and Smallwood dams next steps:
Establish the inflow design flood (IDF) in late 2021
Progress through 90% design by early 2022
Begin construction second half of 2022
Edenville and Sanford dams next steps:
Complete stabilization construction work by early 2022
Full reconstruction design engineering will start in 2022, with the inflow design by the end of 2022
Construction begins in 2023
Tasks Required to Bring Up Each Lake
Presenters reviewed the high level tasks required to bring up each lake. More detail about these activities will be shared in future communications. Topics include:
Engineering and construction
Special Assessment Timeline
The current timeline for the Special Assessment, as communicated during the meeting, is as follows:
Operations and Maintenance Special Assessment Roll
Release the roll estimates and methodology to USDA – November 2021
Public communications – December 2021–May 2022
Computation of costs completed – January 2022
Public input on operations and maintenance assessments – Starting in February 2022
Assessment hearing(s) – May 2022
Board of commissioners’ approval – June 2022
Time allowance for appeal – June 2022 through August 2022
Operation assessment to be on 2022 Winter taxes (due to county August 2022)
Capital Special Assessment Roll
Amount and timing are highly dependent on State funding
If needed, capital assessments will likely be lake-by-lake and start near the year construction begins