Restoring the flow of a long-contaminated Michigan river

By Brian Bienkowsi
Capital News Service
The mouth of a Michigan river with a history of environmental problems will again flow naturally and reconnect Lake Erie to inland towns. But the project could introduce new problems.
Officials in Monroe, Mich., 40 miles south of Detroit, are cleaning up the River Raisin and altering a series of dams to allow natural flow. The project will let fish swim up the river and canoeists and kayakers to enjoy the 23 miles of the river before it empties in Lake Erie. The city is now opening water flow in the lower three miles of the river, which has four dams. The second phase opens the next 20 miles upstream, which has four dams. Some dams cannot be removed because they are built above sewer pipes that are at a certain elevation for gravity flow. So planners are researching other ways to create natural flow.