Black River Lake Dam Slated for Repair: MI

Article Posted: May 26, 2005

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Black River Lake Dam Slated for Repair

The Black River Lake Dam, located in southern Gogebic County, will undergo needed repairs in the near future, according to state recreation officials.

George Madison, fisheries supervisor for the Western U.P. Management Unit for the Department of Natural Resources, said that an agreement has been reached to repair the dam, after an inspection by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) led to the determination that the structure was in need of significant work. The lake behind the dam was drawn down during the summer of 2004 to allow for better access to the dam in order to facilitate the repairs.

"The DEQ inspection was routine, but did reveal some structural problems that needed to be addressed," said Madison. "Our intent is to fill cracks and holes in the cement box drain and spillway, and then allow the lake to fill again, re-establishing that fishing resource for the community."

Gogebic County Director of Forestry and Parks Dick Bolen said that once the dam repairs have been completed, the county intends to establish a small park for local residents at the dam site, which already features a DNR-maintained boating access. Bolen said the road to the location, known as the Underwood Road, will be improved by the county.

"We intend to make this location one that will serve the community as a recreational destination, complete with picnic facilities, in a beautiful setting," Bolen said.

Black River Lake is the headwaters of the Black River. The 105-acre shallow impoundment is a popular destination for anglers, and is located about 10 miles south of Bessemer. The lake was created by the construction of an earthen embankment across the Black River in 1931. The dam was reconstructed in 1947 and again in 1966 after washouts occurred.

Madison said that once the lake has reached its historic levels, it will be planted with rainbow trout.

"This is good news for our community, "Bolen said. "We are appreciative of the efforts by the DNR in what has been a very pro-active approach to resolving this issue."

The repairs are expected to commence in early summer, 2005. For more information, contact Madison at 906-353-6651 or Bolen at 906-667-4687.

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