top of page

Connectivity Project Background

Project Location: Project reach extends along the Raisin River from Nooney Dam, at the outlet of Vineyard Lake, to immediately downstream of Mill Street bridge in the Village of Brooklyn. This project area is located entirely within Columbia Township, Jackson County, Michigan.

Description of Problem: The Brooklyn Dam (BD) is regulated by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) due to its height and size of the associated impoundment. EGLE classifies the BD as a High Hazard Potential Dam as loss of life and severe impacts are expected if a dam failure occurred. BD as largely seen today was constructed in 1939 and was used to supply hydroelectricity for the adjacent manufacturing plant. The dam is no longer used to supply hydroelectric power but had been in operation as recently as 2006. The dam is an earthen structure with a 32-foot-wide concrete spillway with an earthen embankment which extends 300 feet to either side of the spillway. The maximum height of the earthen embankment is 22.5 feet and the spillway is 18 feet in height (EGLE Dam Safety Report 2016). The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), River Raisin Assessment highlights the importance of this high gradient reach of the River Raisin, near Brooklyn to its health and associated aquatic life. Fish and other aquatic animals are typically most diverse and productive in high gradient habitat. The report states that the total length of the River Raisin is 149 miles in length and only 5% has high gradient habitat that is found only in the headwaters and localized in Brooklyn and small reaches in Manchester and Tecumseh. Much of the high gradient habitat has been inundated by dams and their impoundments eliminating this unique and productive habitat and fragmenting the river therefore not allowing fish to freely move through the river.


Proposed Project: Removal of the High Hazard Potential BD, restoration of approximately 2,600 ft. of the River Raisin utilizing Natural Channel Design (NCD) through the former impoundment, replacement of the Mill Street bridge and construction of natural rock rapids over Nooney Dam.


Partners and Collaboration: River Raisin Watershed Council, Jackson County Drain Office, Village of Brooklyn, DNR, Michigan Department of Transportation, EGLE, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Niswander Environmental, Green Watershed Restoration and Five Smooth Stones are key partners.

Project Benefits: Removal of the High Hazard Potential BD, restoration of a functioning stable river channel using NCD, replacement of Mill Street bridge and construction of natural rock rapids over Nooney Dam will permanently eliminate risk and liabilities associated with the dam, improve public safety, restore habitat and resiliency in the river. Project activities will provide up to 44 miles of connectivity to headwater reaches of the River Raisin allowing for daily, seasonal and annual fish movement to access habitat necessary to live out their lives.


Project Status: Partners efforts to date include development of grants to obtain necessary funding for project execution. Feasibility work conducted includes geomorphic assessment, mussel and fish surveys, sediment analysis and design alternative analysis. Upcoming 2023 work efforts includes additional topography survey, wetland assessment, utility investigation, hydraulic and hydrology studies. Information collected during the feasibility study will be utilized to develop final design and permit development. 

Point of Contact:
Meija Knafl

Project Milestones:
Feasibility Study Completion: June 2023
Brooklyn Impoundment Drawdown: July 2023-July 2024
Nooney Dam Fish Passage: July 2023-July 2024
Final Design Plan: Oct 2023
EGLE Permit Submittal: December 2023
Brooklyn Dam Removal/Stream Restoration: July 2024
Mill Street Bridge Replacement: TBD

brooklyn (1).png
bottom of page