The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and its partners removed two dams in the Thornapple River and Butternut Creek to restore floodplain function and restore 171 miles of passage for fish and other aquatic organisms. Removal of the Nashville Dam on the Thornapple River involved geomorphic stream surveys, placement of a weir to control grade and temporarily retain accumulated sediment, gradual drawdown of the impoundment, placement of structures, deconstruction and removal of the dam, final grading, and stabilization of the site. Removal of the Maple Hill Dam on the Butternut Creek was simpler due to the smaller size of the structure. The dam was removed and rock structures were placed to help control stream grade. Four culverts were also removed for this project. This project restored 4.92 miles of riparian habitat and is expected to benefit fish, mussel, and other macroinvertebrate species, and generally improve stream function and water quality in the Thornapple River watershed. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources planned to monitor of stream conditions and fish communities for a minimum of five years after the dam removals were completed.
Nashville Dam on the Thornapple River is located in Barry County, MI; Maple Hill Dam on the Butternut Creek is located in Eaton County, MI.