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State awards funds to remove rest of Flint's Hamilton Dam

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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The Hamilton Dam has been in place for more than a century in downtown Flint.

After the superstructure was removed in 2018 for its hazardous conditions, more small efforts have been made to completely remove the dam and restore the natural flow of the Flint River.

"The dam is 6 feet high. There's no way for fish to get past the dam now. So,  what we're going to do is we're going to construct a series of gravel bars, which is called riffles, which will slowly drop the level of the river," said Barry June, director of Genesee County Parks.

Removal of the Hamilton Dam is part of the $30 million Flint Riverfront Restoration project. Since 2015, more than $15 million in funding has been raised to implement the plan.

Now, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is awarding $1.5 million dollars, which help fund the efforts of bringing the river back to its natural flow.

The Hamilton Dam is one of 16 dams statewide getting millions in the Dam Risk Reduction Grant Program.

"Dam owners are trying to be proactive about the management of their dams, but there are funding barriers that are preventing them from being able to do that," said Mason Manuszak, environmental engineer of the state's Dam Safety Unit.

The Dam Risk Reduction Grant Program targets work ranging from dam removals to critical maintenance. They're excited to open the door of funding for this long-time endeavor.

"This funding opportunity will help get them through this full scope of work, get the remaining structures out of the river and help restore the channel back to natural conditions," said Manuszak.

"It's going to have a huge impact on the navigability of the river and the ability of the public to use the river for recreational purposes and also ecologically for the fish and the creatures in the river," said June.

Removal of the Hamilton Dam will begin this fall and likely last for about three years.

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