Mill Pond Dam Updates

The Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission will consider the Township Board’s recommendation for Mill Pond Dam at their regularly scheduled Commission Meeting on July 10. 

Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission Meeting
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 1:00 PM
Springfield Oaks Activity Center
12451 Andersonville Road, Davisburg

Click here to view the agenda and board packet. 

Update on Assessment of Alternatives for Mill Pond Dam

Following a seven-month investigation which included two public information meetings, the Springfield Township Board completed an assessment of the alternatives for Mill Pond Dam at a Special Meeting on Thursday, June 6. The assessment was based upon the findings of the Feasibility Report, factors outlined in a decision matrix (shown below), and taking into consideration public input and future opportunities for the Township.

The Township Board recommended a course of action to Oakland County, based on the scoring of the decision matrix, that the preferred alternative would be to remove the dam and restore the river corridor with an arch culvert at the Davisburg Road crossing (see adopted motion below). The Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission will assess the alternatives and consider the Township Board’s recommendation at their regularly scheduled Commission Meeting on July 10.

The final decision about the dam will be made by Oakland County with the recommendation from the Springfield Township Board. Once an alternative is selected, there would be many steps before a construction project would begin, including engineering, permitting, grant applications, and public visioning sessions for redevelopment of Township and County park property.

Mill Pond Dam Decision Matrix click to enlarge to full matrix document

Motion adopted at Springfield Township Board Special Meeting of June 6, 2019
Davisburg Mill Pond Dam Feasibility Study – Decision Matrix
 

Supervisor Walls moved that the Springfield Township Board has completed the Special Meeting Decision Matrix based upon specific considerations and factors, the result of which will be made available to Oakland County Parks and others. That result is the reflection of the course of action the Township recommends to follow. Clerk Moreau supported the motion. Vote on the motion, Yes: Cooper, Dubre, Hensler, Hopper, Moreau, Vallad and Walls; No: none; Absent: none. The motion carried by a 7 to 0 vote.

Background

Springfield Township and Oakland County Parks & Recreation are undertaking a Feasibility Study on the Mill Pond Dam to assess current conditions and determine future options for the dam (for more information about ownership and shared maintenance of the dam, please see the link on the left). Based on an engineering evaluation conducted in 2011 and a video inspection of the spillway pipe conducted in 2015, the spillway pipe is failing and is undersized to meet MDEQ standards. Further, the Springfield Township Board and Park Commission wish to address the challenges of maintaining the pond as a recreational and aesthetic asset for the town. Mill Pond is a dam impoundment on the Shiawassee River. In general, small dams tend to have negative ecological effects on a river system. Water quality is negatively impacted due to low oxygen conditions, nutrient and sediment build-up, and proliferation of invasive species. Despite on-going efforts to manage Mill Pond, the water quality is poor and declining. See the Mill Pond Studies & Current Conditions link at left for more information.

Given the declining condition of both the dam and pond, the Township established a committee to investigate options for the future of Mill Pond Park in two scenarios: 1) Maintain the dam and improve the pond, and 2) Remove the dam and restore the Shiawassee River corridor. The Committee began an investigation in October 2017 and presented its Report and Initial Recommendations to a Joint Meeting of the Township Board and Park Commission on April 10, 2018. In this report, the Committee offered some initial recommendations but suggested that expertise of engineers and hydrologists is required to evaluate options for dam modification or removal.  See the Mill Pond Park Committee link at left for more information.

Feasibility Study

Based on the Mill Pond Park Committee recommendation, the Springfield Township Board and Oakland County Parks & Recreation Commission approved moving forward with a Feasibility Study. Following another joint committee effort to select an engineering firm, AECOM was awarded the contract and the study got underway in October 2018. See AECOM’s proposal for their experience with similar projects, and the 90% Draft Submittal Davisburg Mill Pond Dam Feasibility Report at the left.

Public Information Meetings

Included as part of the Feasibility Study are two public information meetings—the first was held on March 5, 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the public of the current conditions of the dam and pond, the different factors being evaluated, and how the factors may impact future decisions by the Township and Oakland County. Following a presentation by the AECOM engineers, the floor was opened to comments and questions from the public. The presentation slides and the information boards which were on display for the meeting are available through the link at left. The info boards also are on display in the hallway outside the Springfield Township Library.

The second public information meeting was held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30 pm. For this meeting AECOM presented more detailed findings and conclusions and provided renderings to illustrate what each of the options could look like. A notice of this meeting was posted on the Public Notices page and was emailed/mailed to all who requested to be included in the distribution list. Information boards and renderings that were presented at the May 22 meeting are available at the link at the left.