Manton Dam Removal

Conservation Resource Alliance

Manton’s Millpond Dam on Manton Creek was built in 1919 to generate energy for a grist mill.

Ninety-three years later, Manton Creek has been converted into a natural system once again. The Traverse City-based Conservation Resource Alliance hired Prein&Newhof to study the feasibility of a number of strategies to restore fish passage, address safety issues, and keep a pond area for the residents to enjoy.

This study was driven by the MDEQ Dam Safety Unit’s desire to restore dam safety at the site, and MDNR Fisheries Division’s desire to restore both fish passage at the dam and cold water to Manton Creek downstream of the existing mill pond. Manton Creek is a designated trout stream, and it is a tributary within the Manistee River’s watershed.
The Conservation Resource Alliance retained Prein&Newhof to investigate ways of providing fish passage, addressing dam safety issues, and keeping the Manton Mill Pond for residents to enjoy. The following principal alternatives were considered:

  1. Repair the dam and keep the impoundment.
  2. Remove the dam.
  3. Remove the dam and establish a side-stream pond.

P&N engineers recommended a two-phase approach, based on the likelihood of funds being available and the ability to meet the project goals.

Phase I was a complete dam removal which returned Manton Creek to its original, pre-dam channel elevation. Phase II will allow for a side-stream pond development when funds become available. Manton is looking for money to do Phase II.

P&N worked with the CRA, MDNR, MDEQ, Manton and their partners on this project, taking part in several public meetings and presentations.

Money to do this project came from the Michigan Habitat Improvement Fund. The Conservation Resource Alliance coordinated the entire project.



The project was a success in creating a better habitat for all, and won Public Works Project of the Year from the Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works association.


Project Manager Jim Hegarty, PE, (616) 364-8491

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