Regulating Dam Safety Under Changing Conditions

Dan DeVaun, P.E.

Nature Change has published several stories about removing dams and culverts to return rivers and streams to natural flow conditions. But Michigan still has about 2,600 significant dams scattered across the state. And according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, about 2/3’s of these dams are older than their 50-year design life.

Less than 100 of the Michigan’s 2,600 regulated dams are used to generate electricity. The vast majority of dams are older structures that impound water for recreational purposes like managing water levels in lakes and providing flooded areas for fish and wildlife habitat.

In this video, we visit with Dan DeVaun, a dam-safety engineer who works for the Dam Safety Unit of Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy – or EGLE. We talk with DeVaun at the Lake Leelanau Dam in Leland about the state’s efforts to control risks presented by dams.

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