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Residents asked to stay off ice as crews lower water levels behind dam

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     EDENVILLE, Michigan (WNEM) — The public is being asked to stay off the ice as crews start to lower the Edenville Dam Tobacco River spillway to bring down water levels behind the dam.

“We want to make sure that in the spring when the snow melts and we get the spring rain storms that the water has an efficient way to move out of the impoundment area, out of the water area behind the dam,” said Nick Assendelft, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE)

That’s why EGLE is planning to lower the water level behind the Edenville Dam. Assendelft said the draw down will begin on Feb. 24 and last for a couple of weeks.

“We’re looking at probably a foot a day, so we’re talking 12 to 14 days to kind of lower the water behind the dam. So, that will all be going down the Tobacco River at a gradual pace,” Assendelft said.

EGLE and Edenville Township Supervisor Terrance Hall are both warning people to stay off the ice.

“If you were to go out and just set your shanty on the ice and for some reason the ice doesn’t collapse as the water recedes underneath it and you drill that hole and you punch through and you find yourself falling 10 feet into the freezing water with all that ice coming down on top of you because you just broke the dome, it’s not going to be a fun day for you,” Hall said.

Hall said those near the ice should use their common sense.

“Please don’t be a cause for us to have something to be sad about,” Hall said.

As for Assendelft, he wants people to know dangerous ice conditions may be found further downstream as well.

“You might see some ice also down river and some ice on the Tittabawassee River as well impacted in some way, so we really just don’t want people on the ice,” Assendelft said.

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