DNR announces first recipients for new aquatic habitat grant

Michigan announced this week its initial $1 million investment into the new Aquatic Habitat Grant program.

Among seven other grantees, Huron Pines in Otsego County received the largest award – nearly $275,000 – that officials said is for the removal of the Golden Lotus Dam on the Pigeon River.

Chris Freiburger, with the DNR Fisheries division, said the dam is creating unsafe conditions for marine life in the Pigeon River, which is a cold water system.

“When the water goes over the top of the dam, it increases of temperature of the water downstream in the river,” he said. “If it gets warm enough, it’s no longer a cold water system. I wouldn’t be able to maintain trout, or the other fish species that live there.”

In addition, Freiburger said the sediment that is released by the dam into the river slows its flow.

Huron Pines officials said the project start up is weather-dependent.

It is scheduled to begin early this summer.

Other grant awards were given to projects planned for Lake County and Presque Isle County.