Wixom Lake Association News-April 2014 -Notice For all Wixom Lake Users
The 2014 recreational season is upon us. The Dam Project Study Group (DPSG), on behalf of the Wixom
Lake Association (WLA), has been monitoring the dam repair issue throughout the winter season. We
remind people that Boyce's power generation activities, construction projects, and scheduling of spillway
modifications are licensed and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Since last summer (2013), FERC has modified the Spillway Renovation project requirements for Boyce.
FERC has decided instead of immediate renovation of Edenville Dam's original spillways, they will now
require Boyce to construct two new auxiliary spillways. These “overflow”spillways would each be
located nearby the existing ones and provide supplemental spill capacity if the Lake level were to rise
more than a foot above normal summer level. The original spillways will remain in place and in use, but
renovation is postponed. FERC instructed Boyce to construct these new spillways one-at-a-time, over a 2
year period. WLA has requested, but not yet received, a construction schedule for this new plan.
However, WLA does not believe major construction on the first new overflow spillway will start
anytime soon. WLA is actively attempting to obtain these details from FERC (since mid-February 2014)
but Boyce is resisting the release of water management and scheduling details by FERC .
We presently have no information that indicates Wixom Lake will be drawn down during the 2014
recreational season. It is important to understand that this could change and this is not a guarantee.
Through the course of the last year the DPSG has provided information to many elected officials, who
have been tremendously helpful in supporting our interests on Wixom Lake dam issues. The DPSG and
WLA would like to thank Congressman Dave Camp, Senator John Moolenar, Representative Jim Stamas,
Representative Kevin Cotter, Representative Joel Johnson, Midland County Comissioner Mark Bone,
Tobacco Township Supervisor Bill Clark, Billings Township Supervisor Larry Grell, and the Gladwin County
Commissioners for their help. Please remember their support of our issue as you review candidates for
upcoming elections this August and November.
We remind all Wixom Lake residents that now is the time to JOIN or renew memberships to the Wixom
Lake Association. To become a WLA member: Send a check for $25 to WLA-Membership, P.O. Box 191,
Edenville, MI 48620. !!!-PLEASE take the time to JOIN WLA Now-!!! We are: “Your Voice for Our
Lake”. Membership information can be found here: http://www.wixomlakeassociation.org/blank.html
Please understand that WLA is not the group that does weed control funded by a tax assessment. WLA is
a separate group focused on all Lake issues, except weed control. Weeds are managed by the Wixom
Lake Improvement Association as specified in their charter, or by Tobacco Township which has its own
weed management program funded by a tax assessment. Consequently, WLA membership is voluntary,
and funding for WLA activities is from membership dues and donations, not from any tax assessment.
WLA membership dues are vital to the Wixom Lake Association and allow WLA to represent the interests
of everyone who enjoys the boating, fishing, and other recreational activities provided by Wixom Lake.
Please join WLA and help us protect and preserve our lake.
When we have an update on the dam situation, we will post that on the WLA web site.
Wixom Lake Will Not Be Lowered In 2014
This white paper details the best information Wixom Lake Association (WLA) has to share about potential drawdown of Wixom Lake.
During the August 9 WLA annual meeting at the Eagles in Albright Shores, WLA offered the opinion that Wixom Lake would not be drawn down for a spillway construction project in 2014. That opinion is now supported by a newspaper article in the Sept. 10 Gladwin County Record and Beaverton Clarion, based on information the newspaper received directly from Boyce Hydro management. The normal winter drawdown in December is expected to take place as usual.
At this time, no spillway construction work is expected to begin before late 2015. The timing of the 2015 project and the extent of any required drawdowns is still under negotiation between the dam owner (Boyce Hydro Power, LLC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
WLA will continue to provide updates with newsletters, web site postings and at our annual meeting.
At the beginning of 2013, Boyce had FERC approval for a construction project to increase capacity of the Edenville Dam spillways. That project would have required several draw-downs of Wixom Lake levels over the period of several years beginning in 2013. On April, 2013, Boyce Hydro Power, LLC (Boyce) applied for a Michigan DEQ permit to draw down Wixom Lake, which was required for them to perform the construction project. However, a few days after making that application, Boyce informed FERC that Boyce did not have enough money to perform the approved construction project. Boyce and FERC began negotiating different, less expensive construction plans to increase spillway capacity.
In June, 2014, MDEQ issued a drawdown permit to Boyce for the original FERC-approved construction project, the same project Boyce told FERC is unaffordable. One condition of the permit was that any drawdown must be announced in local newspapers at least 20 days in advance. There has been no such announcement to-date, instead, an article published in the Sept. 10, 2014 Gladwin County Record and Beaverton Clarion declared that Wixom Lake will not be drawn down in 2014. The article states the information came directly from Boyce.
Boyce and FERC have spent the past year negotiating a different, less ambitious and more affordable construction project. There is tentative agreement on a project that would increase Edenville Dam spillway capacity, but not enough to fully meet FERC requirements. Those negotiations are not final, but FERC and Boyce have agreed to a tentative schedule for project construction work. The schedule mentions a November 2014 date for Boyce delivering final plans to FERC for constructing an overflow spillway. The schedule also states Boyce will apply for a new drawdown permit in February 2015. That might be the soonest the public would see a firm schedule for the work, including any need for drawing down Wixom Lake. The present tentative schedule calls for construction work to begin August, 2015
and be completed November 2015. As plans and firmer (revised) schedules become available to the public, WLA will keep the public up to date.