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About Wixom Lake

Wixom Lake is a reservoir in Gladwin and Midland counties in Michigan, created by the impoundment of two rivers: Tittabawassee and Tobacco. Edenville Dam is an earth-filled embankment dam located where the two rivers come together. It has two spillways (the west spillway is referred to as the Tobacco Spillway) and a powerhouse. State highway 30 bisects the dam.

When at its legal summer level, Wixom Lake is approximately 1,980 acres and can reach depths up to 40 feet. Michiganders from across the state visit the lake to boat and fish in its freshwaters. Anglers love the lake for its variety of fish including Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Muskie, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye and Yellow Perch.

Features of the Lake

  • Pontoon Alley: A sandbar that’s a popular destination for boaters to park and socialize

  • Musselman Island

  • Type O Steam Shovel: After the flood, a 100-year-old steam shovel was removed from the lakebottom that had been submerged for 95 years in the 25-feet-deep waters. The shovel was used to move soil when the dam was built in 1925. Beaverton resident Mike Oberloier is restoring the shovel. Follow his journey here

Pontoon Alley
Pontoon Alley

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Pontoon Alley
Pontoon Alley

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Pontoon Alley
Pontoon Alley

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Lakebottom debris clean-up
Lakebottom debris clean-up

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Debris clean-up
Debris clean-up

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Debris clean-up
Debris clean-up

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Lakebottom debris clean-up
Lakebottom debris clean-up

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Restoring Wixom Lake

Wixom Lake Association is an active partner in helping restore the four lakes and dams. On behalf of WLA our Social Committee has hosted clean-up events, a letter-writing campaign and fundraisers to support the restoration of our lake.

In September and October of 2021 WLA did a letter-writing campaign with letters provided by Restore the Lakes. Approximately 10,000 letters were sent by Wixom Lake property owners to county and state elected officials to express support for eight different house and senate bills related to dam repairs and safety.

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Edenville Dam

Damage from May 2020 Flood

According to an interim report created by an independent forensic team, Edenville Dam failed because of “static liquefaction (flow) instability of saturated, loose sands in the downstream section of the embankment.” Liquefaction occurs when soil experiences applied stress that causes it to behave like a liquid. As the water rose during the flood, it applied intense hydraulic load (stress) to the earthen embankment. When this happened, water began to seep through the embankment. Eventually, enough soil was liquefied that the embankment breached. Watch this video for an easy-to-understand explanation and demonstration of the Edenville Dam failure.​

The flood caused catastrophic damage to Edenville Dam, including:

  • Left embankment breached

  • Powerhouse and equipment damaged

  • Both the Tobacco and Tittabawassee tainter gated spillways were damaged

  • Inadequate height and length of the downstream spillway training walls to prevent overtopping and reduce erosion at the dam toe during high flow events

  • Upstream slope of embankments heel area scoured and undermined due to M-30 breach channel flows

  • M-30 bridge and causeway between the rivers was washed out

  • No low-level outlets

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Repairs

To restore Wixom Lake to pre-flood levels, Four Lakes Task Force predicts it’ll cost approximately $121 million. This includes:

  • Construct new primary (gated) spillways at the Edenville Dam

  • Construction of a new labyrinth-type (ungated) auxiliary spillway at the north embankment breach

  • Reconstruct/repair damaged embankments

  • Stabilize and raise remaining embankments

  • Develop a new low-level outlet at the existing powerhouse location

 

See repair measures and the restoration timeline on the FLTF Edenville Dam webpage.

Live Stream of Edenville Dam