Mill Pond Dam Updates
The Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission and Springfield Township Board approved an increase to the existing contract with AECOM for the purpose of continuing with the necessary design/engineering for the removal and restoration of the Mill Pond Dam. This phase will include preliminary design engineering, grant writing assistance, public outreach and conceptual park design.
Oakland County Parks and Springfield Township staff submitted a pre-proposal to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) – Fisheries Habitat Grant Program for funding assistance for design/engineering. The application is for $121,500 in grant funding relevant to the program priorities to potentially cover a significant portion of the design/engineering costs. On October 4 the County/Township were notified that their pre-proposal was among those approved to move forward in the 2019 FHGP application process.
Assessment of Alternatives for Mill Pond Dam
Following a seven-month investigation which included two public information meetings, the Springfield Township Board completed an assessment of the alternatives for Mill Pond Dam at a Special Meeting on Thursday, June 6. The assessment was based upon the findings of the Feasibility Report, factors outlined in a decision matrix, and taking into consideration public input and future opportunities for the Township.
The Township Board recommended a course of action to Oakland County, based on the scoring of the decision matrix, that the preferred alternative would be to remove the dam and restore the river corridor with an arch culvert at the Davisburg Road crossing (click here to view the June 6, 2019 meeting minutes). The Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission assessed the alternatives and considered the Township Board’s recommendation at their regularly scheduled Commission Meeting on July 10. The Commission supported the Township's recommendation and moved to conceptually approve the preferred alternative.
Springfield Township and Oakland County Parks & Recreation are undertaking a Feasibility Study on the Mill Pond Dam to assess current conditions and determine future options for the dam (for more information about ownership and shared maintenance of the dam, please see the link on the left). Based on an engineering evaluation conducted in 2011 and a video inspection of the spillway pipe conducted in 2015, the spillway pipe is failing and is undersized to meet MDEQ standards. Further, the Springfield Township Board and Park Commission wish to address the challenges of maintaining the pond as a recreational and aesthetic asset for the town. Mill Pond is a dam impoundment on the Shiawassee River. In general, small dams tend to have negative ecological effects on a river system. Water quality is negatively impacted due to low oxygen conditions, nutrient and sediment build-up, and proliferation of invasive species. Despite on-going efforts to manage Mill Pond, the water quality is poor and declining. See the Mill Pond Studies & Current Conditions link at left for more information.
Given the declining condition of both the dam and pond, the Township established a committee to investigate options for the future of Mill Pond Park in two scenarios: 1) Maintain the dam and improve the pond, and 2) Remove the dam and restore the Shiawassee River corridor. The Committee began an investigation in October 2017 and presented its Report and Initial Recommendations to a Joint Meeting of the Township Board and Park Commission on April 10, 2018. In this report, the Committee offered some initial recommendations but suggested that expertise of engineers and hydrologists is required to evaluate options for dam modification or removal. See the Mill Pond Park Committee link at left for more information.
Based on the Mill Pond Park Committee recommendation, the Springfield Township Board and Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission approved moving forward with a Feasibility Study. Following another joint committee effort to select an engineering firm, AECOM was awarded the contract and the study got underway in October 2018. See AECOM’s proposal for their experience with similar projects, and the Final Submittal Davisburg Mill Pond Dam Feasibility Report.
Public Information Meetings
Included as part of the Feasibility Study are two public information meetings—the first was held on March 5, 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the public of the current conditions of the dam and pond, the different factors being evaluated, and how the factors may impact future decisions by the Township and Oakland County. Following a presentation by the AECOM engineers, the floor was opened to comments and questions from the public. The presentation slides and the information boards which were on display for the meeting are available through the link at left. The info boards also are on display in the hallway outside the Springfield Township Library.The second public information meeting was held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30 pm. For this meeting AECOM presented more detailed findings and conclusions and provided renderings to illustrate what each of the options could look like. A notice of this meeting was posted on the Public Notices page and was emailed/mailed to all who requested to be included in the distribution list. Information boards and renderings that were presented at the May 22 meeting are available at the link at the left.