For months, pro-Argo advocates have speculated about what the Argo-stretch of river will look like with the dam removed. While hoards of data and hundreds of nationwide examples exist to demonstrate the results of dam removal, the Huron River Watershed Council now provides a visual portrayal for those without imagination:
Huron River Restoration at Argo Pond
Ron Corso is with the United States Society on Dams.
“There’s enough sites out there to dramatically increase the amount of hydropower that exists today, and the FERC has more applications in front of it than it has in twenty years.” The FERC is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It's the government agency that oversees dams.
Corso says communities are weighing the economic costs before repairing or retro-fitting an old dam.
And if the dam is small – say under 20 feet tall – Corso says it often is not worth the cost.
The height of Argo Dam: 18 feet
Full story: The Environment Report: A New Look at Old Dams
The rowable length of Barton Pond is shorter than the rowable length of Argo, though there is more surface area, and there are real access issues... And in the end, who cares how big the water is if you can't get to it or build a boathouse on it.
"it's better for the environment" -- so is no-one using an internal combustion engine, but that ain't happening -- but no-one advocating the removal of Argo Dam can quantify or show just how much better it would be in which specific ways. Even though they've been working on this for nearly a decade, they've done no serious scientific study . . . no data on water temperature on Argo, no data on sedimentation of Argo (in spite of Ms. Rubin making a specific claim in her quote,) no data specific to Argo Pond at all in fact.
The rowers are the ones specifically who told us that the pond was filling in with sediment and that the rowers were having a hard time rowing...finding a clear path up and down the pond. UM coach Greg Hartsuff stated that he thought there had been about 4 feet of deposition in the ponded area over the ~15 years between ~1990 and 2003. That's what impoundments and dams do. Basically they stop the movement of water and sediment. The sediment drops out and accumulates over time. If you want to keep an impoundment clear of weeds and sediment you need to dredge, apply herbicides or pesticides and actively manage it. It is an engineered system.
We do have data specific for Argo Pond. The data is on harmful flow variations caused by the dam and the poor quality fishery as a result of the dam. This can be found on the Huron River Watershed Council's website at www.hrwc.org.
As for the talk about alternative rowing venues, the city staff and the rowing community need to have a serious discussion about alternatives. Some in the rowing community have suggested alternatives on Gallup and Barton that need exploration rather than a short dismissive statement.
The month-long poll officially closed on September 27, 2009.
“I don’t really see Argo Dam going away," Hieftje said.
How to Sustain a Local Economy
The Ann Arbor Chronicle - Ann Arbor,Michigan,USA
The dam at Gallup has a 50% greater capacity for generating electricity than Argo dam, he said, with about a 35-year payback on investment. ...
HRP's response (included in comments at the A^2 Chronicle story):
The second article is from dam-removal advocate Owen Jansson, retired assistant director of a research center at the University of Michigan, and former executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council from 1973-77.
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It's notable that discrediting comments from pro-dam instigators are always attached to articles and letters advocating for the merits of dam removal. Observation of media for the past 18 months indicate that this is overwhelmingly true, regardless of the author's credentials. One might conclude that the highest concentration of the world's experts on keeping dams reside in Ann Arbor, and most of them, no doubt, are linked to Ann Arbor's now infamous community of adult rowers.
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