The Boardman River Dam is gone. The river is flowing freely through an area that used to be a pond. It’s the second of three dams to be removed in a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project to return the waterway to a more natural state.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) toured the project last week, promoting the federal program called the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) that is funding the dam removal. Lawmakers have sent $8 million through the GLRI for the removal of the Boardman and Sabin Dams.
“This is part of our overall efforts in protecting our Great Lakes waters,” Stabenow says. “It’s important for wildlife. It’s important for people, for tourism and basically our Michigan way of life.”
The GLRI which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, gives hundreds of millions of dollars to projects in the Great Lakes region to pay for things like pollution clean up and protection from invasive species.
The program attracted headlines earlier this year when the Trump Administration recommended ending it. But lawmakers in the U.S. House have introduced legislation that would fully fund the $300 million program.
“At this point it looks like we’re in a good position,” Stabenow says of the GLRI.