The Ceresco Dam was constructed on the Kalamazoo River in 1905. The dam was removed in two stages, the first part in 2013 and the second last year, and over 2.5 miles of the river was restored which has improved water quality, natural river function, and the habitat and passage of native fish and aquatic organism.
Stantec’s river restoration plan was based on Natural Channel Design principles to enhance river stability and ecological function. A multi-stage channel including an inner berm, bankfull channel, and floodplain cross-section allow for some natural channel adjustment while providing stability during flood flows. In-stream structures, including log vanes, constructed riffles and toe wood, were used to control flow, stabilize banks and stream bed, and enhance in-stream habitat. The restoration design provides access to a functional floodplain and restores sinuosity and multiple flow regimes to a reach currently dominated by lacustrine conditions.
Baseline monitoring data was collected in Fall 2014-2016 after construction completion. Few problem areas were observed and the riparian vegetation has become well established over the past three years. Pfankuch channel stability assessments shown that all reaches are in good condition. This project demonstrates the benefits of river restoration following dam removal to to improve channel dimensions, pattern, stability, and floodplain connectivity.