By YANJIE WANG
Capital News Serivce
LANSING — The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will spend $2.35 million for its dam management program in 2013, the first time the department has been granted money by the Legislature to address problems of aging dams.
The program will focus on dam removals and maintenance. Individuals, nonprofit organizations, and state and local government agencies would be eligible for grants. Michigan has more than 2,600 dams. More than 90 percent of them will reach or exceed their designed life by 2020, according to the department. Chris Freiburger, coordinator of the program, said many were built since the 1830s for purposes such as power generation and millponds. “Chunks of dams lacked regular maintenance because they don’t serve an economic purpose any more,” Freiburger said.