THE AU SABLE river dam in Grayling, Michigan, built during the former lumber mill town’s hay days, but posing a threat to fish hatcheries now is to be removed. After decades of debate, state and local officials have reached an agreement to dismantle the structure, which dates from the late 1800s. The US$385,000 project will be funded by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Constructed of log timbers, the dam originally was used by mill operators to store logs during summer. A bridge was built over the dam and renovated with steel sheet pilings in the 1930s as part of Grayling’s main north-south thoroughfare. The project will lower the mill pond by one foot, decrease water temperatures for miles downstream and reconnect fragmented sections of the river.