On Thursday, April 3, 2014, Judge Janet Allen issued a Consent Judgement ending the court case between Michigan Trout Unlimited and the Pigeon River Country Association against Golden Lotus requiring them to remove the 100 year old dam at the Song of the Morning Ranch. All three of the parties (and also, of course, the State of Michigan which agreed but did not want to be a specific part of the agreement) have found a way to proceed with this removal in a manner that we all believe is both as safe as possible and consistent with maintaining the facilities of the Song of the Morning Ranch. The Consent Judgment is posted below.
The key to our arrangement comes first from the Golden Lotus engineers who have identified a relatively inexpensive approach to replacing the current bridge and second from Huron Pines, an established conservation organization, with real project experience who have agreed to lead the project and chair a joint Steering Committee that will together search for grant sources, collect monitoring data, and supervise the overall project. The project will be done in two phases; Phase1, the drawdown, began on May 22, 2014..Phase 2 will be the removal of the dam proper, replacement of the bridge, and a more complete sand management program.
There is 50+ years of organic sediment in the pond that will slowly flow downstream during the drawdown. Unfortunately you will see a substantial amount of silt and organic matter which made the Pigeon appear dark and murky, particularly at the Sturgeon Valley Road bridge during much of this past summer. Golden Lotus, with our help, carefully monitored the situation to minimize as much as possible the impact on the Pigeon.
Golden Lotus, Trout Unlimited, and the Association are now cooperating to reduce as much as possible the potential for harm to the Pigeon River during the dam removal stage which, hopefully, will begin this year after the draw down is complete. Here are pictures with dates of the Song of the Morning pond drawdown which began May 22:will begin this spring and consist of the draw down of the pond, removal of electrical generating machinery, and excavation as necessary to deal with sediment while and the Sediment Management Plans for Phase 1 and Phase 2 are posted below.
We look forward to working with Michigan Trout Unlimited and Golden Lotus under these arrangements. They will, we believe, provide a safer, better, and wiser approach to making the Pigeon River what it was intended to be – a source of pleasure to all who enjoy the natural character of the Pigeon River Country.
Golden Lotus, Trout Unlimited, and the Association are now cooperating to reduce as much as possible the potential for harm to the Pigeon River during the dam removal stage which, hopefully, will begin next year after the draw down is complete. Here are pictures with dates of the Song of the Morning pond drawdown which began May 22:
NOTE: Documents posted below are final drafts but essentially identical to the official signed copies.