Canal Bridge @ Veteran's Park

CANAL WORK ENDS FOR WINTER

December 30, 2013

Source: Monroe News

By: Dean Cousino

The project, part of an overall plan to boost recreation opportunities along the river, is about 85 percent done, with remaining work to be done in the spring

Construction of a channel to divert water from the River Raisin around the Waterloo Dam at Veterans Park in Monroe is about 85 percent completed, with the remainder of the work suspended for the winter.

The bulk of the bypass canal at the park off N. Custer Rd. has been finished, with landscaping, seeding and other site cleanup and restoration items to be done in the spring, said Dan Swallow, director of economic and community development for the City of Monroe.

The work could resume in March or April, depending on the weather, Mr. Swallow said.

The contractor is digging a canal through a portion of the park to skirt the higher dam. A gravel access road was built and areas of the park remained cordoned off to the public because of the work.

The canal is an integral part of an overall plan to increase recreational opportunities and bring better fishing, canoeing and kayaking to the river.

All other sections of the plan essentially have been completed, said Barry LaRoy, director of water and wastewater utilities for the city. These include the dams behind the Monroe Post Office and near Virginia Dr. off W. Elm Ave.

“The last portion of the work to make the project fully functional is finishing the channel” at the Waterloo Dam, Mr. LaRoy said.

The contractor planned to set a footbridge and open the channel soon at the dam, according to Scott Dierks, senior engineer for Cardno JF New, an Ann Arbor consulting firm that is working with the city’s engineering department.

The new channel is to include a mechanism allowing it to be closed off as a safeguard to potential migration of the invasive sea lamprey, which preys on fish. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality requested the controls after studying the channel plan.

The entire project is being paid for mostly with grants from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It included building rock ramps at the two low-head dams between the Roessler St. bridge and St. Mary’s Park. The aim is to allow for fish migration upstream to points west of the city.

Work finished on the low-head dams and was nearing completion at the Grape Dam and mill race just west of Ida-Maybee Rd., Mr. Dierks said in a recent engineering update on the overall project.

When the Waterloo Dam work is completed, the passage for fish as well as recreational vessels such as kayaks largely will be unimpeded from the dam at the Old Mill in Dundee all the way to Lake Erie, Mr. Swallow said.