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FERC Issues Order Proposing Revocation of Edenville Dam License
On Feb. 15, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) notified Boyce Hydro Power, LLC (Boyce) of a proposal to revoke Boyce’s license for the Edenville Dam. If the license is revoked, Boyce will no longer be able to generate and sell power from the Edenville facility.

The following statements in the Order should be of interest to the Wixom Lake community:

Public safety would not be affected by revoking the license. Should the Commission ultimately revoke Boyce Hydro’s license, the Commission’s jurisdiction will end, and authority over the site will pass to the State of Michigan’s dam regulatory authorities.” 

 “Revocation of the Edenville Project license does not mandate removal or any modification of the dam... as a general rule, we do not condition the effectiveness of a license revocation by imposing additional requirements on a licensee that has shown its unwillingness to comply with other Commission orders.

Boyce has 30 days to request a hearing on this Order. We will continue to follow the situation and keep you informed.
Why Is Wixom Lake So Low?
April 10, 2018
We have heard this question often in the past few weeks. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license for the Edenville Dam says the winter drawdown period is to end “prior to the surface water temperature of the reservoir reaching 39 degrees F”. The DNR contacted Boyce about the water level. Boyce responded that their lake water measurements show water temperatures of 34-36 degrees F. Boyce measures the temperature “with either a thermometer or an electronic sensor situated 4’ beneath the water surface at the spillways”.

The lake will warm up eventually.

Edenville Dam Update – June 2018

June 1, 2018.  In November, 2017, FERC issued a Cease Generation Order for the Edenville Dam. Boyce Hydro Power, LLC (Boyce) filed an emergency appeal in the Federal Appeals Court for the Washington, D.C. District and later presented FERC with a request to allow continued generation over the winter, stating this was the only sure method of regulating lake levels during severe freezing weather. Boyce was allowed to temporarily re-commence power generation and continues generating power. Boyce has asked a Federal Court of Appeals for a hearing on the Cease Generation Order. We are not aware of a date set for this hearing.

Our last communication about the dam was notice that FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) issued to Boyce an Order Proposing Revocation Of License (Order), affecting the Edenville Dam. Boyce had 30 days to request a hearing on the Order, but did not do so. Instead, Boyce filed a Motion with FERC, requesting that FERC withdraw that Order. FERC has not yet ruled on the Motion, but submitted a list of questions for Boyce to answer by May 20. Boyce filed their answers on May 18, which are now under consideration by FERC.

We have researched FERC Orders Proposing Revocation Of License issued to other dam owners. This is an uncommon action for FERC to take and does not necessarily result in license revocation. As long as Boyce has a license to generate power at the Edenville Dam, FERC’s regulations of the dam and Wixom Lake water levels will continue as they have for the past 19+ years. If the Edenville Dam license is revoked, FERC oversight of the dam would end, electric power generation at the Edenville Dam would end and the State of Michigan would assume responsibility for dam safety regulation. We are making plans in case the license is revoked.

Representatives of Wixom Lake Association (WLA), Sanford Lake Preservation Association (SLPA) and Sanford Lake Association (SLA) met with the Michigan DNR, the Michigan DEQ and staff members from State Senator Jim Stamas' office to discuss the potential consequences of a loss of license. Following this meeting, the three Associations filed a letter with FERC requesting that FERC delay any action on Edenville Dam license revocation until Nov. 1, 2018. The purpose of the request is to give the Associations time to understand and prepare in case FERC revokes the license. Our request is supported by Gladwin and Midland County Commissioners, State Senator Jim Stamas, US Representative John Moolenaar and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. We anticipate our request for delay will be granted, and expect recreational opportunities on Wixom Lake during 2018 will NOT be affected.

Our goal is to preserve existing recreational usage of Wixom Lake for the people who use the lake and/or own property around it.  The Associations are working with Gladwin and Midland Counties to enact a Michigan Lake Level Order for Wixom Lake. Hundreds of Michigan lakes have Lake Level Orders, including some lakes created by dams under FERC regulation. A Michigan Lake Level Order involves a County Circuit Court judge issuing an order to manage a lake at a specified water level(s). In the event Boyce's FERC license is lost, a Michigan Lake Level Order for Wixom Lake would immediately take effect and require the lake level to be managed at levels similar to those of the past 19+ years. 

Watch for updates as the situation further develops.

Aug. 1, 2018.  The new Four Lakes Task Force has submitted its first progress report to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Wixom Lake Association is a participant in this task force.  Click the links below to see a copy of the letter and related resolutions.
​Temporary Secord, Smallwood, Wixom and Sanford Lake Drawdowns Planned for Fall, 2018

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is requiring all owners of earth-embankment hydroelectric dams to conduct special “focused spillway inspections”. These inspections are a consequence of the near-failure of the Oroville, California earth-embankment hydroelectric dam in 2017. Owners of affected dams will inspect the downstream structure of the spillways, looking closely for any part of that structure that needs repairs. This requires exposing parts of spillways that are normally submerged.

We have been advised by Boyce Hydro Power LLC. (Boyce) that all four Tittabawassee River dams are tentatively scheduled for this inspection in the Fall of 2018, plus required spillway gate tests. The inspection and spillway tests require that Sanford, Wixom, Smallwood and Secord Lakes be drawn down 4' (four feet) below normal summer levels. It will take 6-10 days to draw the lakes down, 4-8 days for inspection and spillway gate testing and then 5 or more days to refill the lakes. Because the lakes will be drawn down below their regulated seasonal levels, Boyce needs approval from FERC to perform the drawdowns and is also required to contact Michigan regulatory agencies (e.g., DNR and DEQ) to request their comments on the proposed drawdown dates. Boyce has contacted each of these agencies and is awaiting formal replies.

Boyce’s current plan and schedule: Drawdowns will begin Sept. 20 at a rate not to exceed 8” (eight inches) per day. The lakes will be drawn down 4’ by Oct. 1. The spillway structures will then be inspected and photographed. All the spillway gates will be inspected and operated. Commencing between Oct. 5 to 8, the lakes will be refilled at a rate not to exceed 9” (nine inches) per day. It will take at least 5 days to refill the lakes.  

Things to keep in mind. Readers are advised that, even with FERC approval of the schedule above, there will still be uncertainty. Rainfall, or the lack of it, may affect timing of lake lowering and refilling. Heavy rains could interfere with drawing the lakes down and/or maintaining the lowered levels. Refilling the lakes could take 5 days to a few months, depending on how much rain our area gets this Fall and any delays in the inspection process.

We are advising the public of the planned drawdown now, as this may affect plans people have for removing boats and other equipment from the lake prior to winter. We are in favor of conducting the spillway inspections and spillway gate tests. We have reason to believe the inspections and tests will happen this year. We expect to have confirmed dates later in August. When we have those dates, we will publish another notice to the public.

We are grateful that FERC and Boyce have agreed to conduct the inspections and spillway tests outside the busiest part of the boating season.

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