FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 6, 2010 Honorable Dennis F. Murphy of the Otsego County Circuit Court today signed an interim order in which Golden Lotus, Inc. agreed to remove a private dam on the Pigeon River that it owns and maintains on its Song of the Morning Ranch property in Otsego County. The agreement is in response to a release of water and sediment from the dam in June 2008, which resulted in environmental damage on the Pigeon River. Golden Lotus also agreed to pay $150,000 as mitigation for alleged damages and DNRE investigation costs. Removal of the private dam is contingent on the absence of any contaminated sediments. Golden Lotus has 30 days to submit a conceptual plan for removal of the dam to the State Technical Review Team, established by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. The plan will outline dam removal, sediment testing and management, and restoration of the formerly impounded area to a stable stream channel. The plan will also describe a replacement for a bridge that Golden Lotus will continue to use, per the agreement reached with the state today. The order further stipulates that the Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the State Technical Review Team will assist Golden Lotus and its experts in connection with identifying data, testing and documentation requirements, and with the development of a comprehensive and reasonable dam removal plan. The order also directs the DNRE and Trout Unlimited to assist Golden Lotus in identifying grants and other funding sources to help pay for the activities and construction outlined in the order. “I want to thank the Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited for being a strong partner in this situation and for stepping forward to help Golden Lotus with a dam removal plan.” said DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries. This settlement is an example of what can be accomplished when the parties are willing to work together towards the common goal of the protection and preservation of the natural resources of this state.
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