Kalamazoo River To Be Lowered As Repairs Begin At Dam

Nov 1, 2020

Morrow Lake in September. Plants have grown in the reservoir since Eagle Creek drew it down about a year ago.
Credit Jeffrey Klyce

This story has been updated to reflect that the flow reduction originally planned for Monday is now scheduled for Tuesday. 

After months of delay and an environmental crisis on the Kalamazoo River, the project to repair Morrow Dam near Comstock is moving forward. Eagle Creek Renewable Energy plans to send divers to the dam’s gates Tuesday. The state says the company will reduce flow through the gates to protect the workers. That will cause the water level to drop downriver.


Department of Natural Resources Fisheries biologist Matt Diana said the company would reduce the water level slowly.

“Because of that it gives things like fish, amphibians and turtles kind of the ability to move,” he said.

Diana said the state worked with the company to reduce the amount of time the flow would be reduced. The river level should return to normal about eight hours after the work on Tuesday starts, Diana added. The company is likely to lower the water a couple more times before it finishes the work.

Kyle Alexander of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy said lowering the water could kick up mud in the river.

“But kind of with the understanding the flow reduction is necessary from a health and safety standpoint for them to be able to get their work done,” he said.

Sediment from Morrow Lake has plagued the river since the company drew down the reservoir a year ago, threatening fish and other wildlife.

The DNR and EGLE say Eagle Creek is aiming to refill Morrow Lake in December, about 13 months after it drew down the reservoir.