River City Wild Ones met at the Grand Rapids Public Museum last Monday, August 15th to hear the latest updates on the Grand Rapids Revitalization Project. Despite the museum being closed and the looming threat of thunderstorms, a good group met on the lawn to listen to Wendy Ogilvie of the Grand Valley Metro Council and Matt Chapman of Grand Rapids?Whitewater
Wendy talked about the history of the Grand River and the need for damming the rapids in the last century. In those days, logs were floated down the Grand for use in the furniture industry primarily. The logs would get hung up in the rapids, so a system of small dams was built to “level” the river. Today, with other methods of transport, those dams are no longer needed and prohibit access to the river, presenting unnecessary risks.
But, a project of this scale is bound to have many challenges. In addition to the obvious issues of fundraising and state and federal permits, there is concern for preventing unwanted invaders like the sea lamprey from swimming upstream. A rare and federally endangered species of mussel called the snuffbox mussel was discovered during the many hours of research and impact studies that have gone into this. These mussels will have to be collected and moved to a safe location during construction! However, there are plans in place to address all of these issues and the project is moving ahead. Visit their website to learn more.
The outing?concluded with a walk along the Grand to the fish ladder, which will not be removed. ?Many thanks to Wendy and Matt for a lovely and informative evening!