In December 2003, Traverse City Light and Power officials told the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)that it wanted to study whether it would be possible to remove the city-owned dams, which cost the agency US$5M over 18 years. Moeover, upgrades required by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could top US$1M.

USACE is completing a preliminary restoration plan before federal funds are sought for a feasibility study to determine the specific impact of the dams’ removal. The pact lays out steps for giving up the hydroelectric power generation licences for the Sabin, Boardman and Brown Bridge dams to FERC, and the subsequent decommissioning.

Parties to the agreement include Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, the city Light and Power department, the State Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.