Purpose. The Friends of the Shiawassee River work to promote a healthy Shiawassee River for the enjoyment of all. Based on the best scientific research, the experiences of other rivers, and specific studies of the Shiawassee River, we are convinced that the River will be healthier without dams.
Position. We support the removal of dangerous and obsolete dams on the Shiawassee River, the restoration of its natural watercourse, the unobstructed recreational use of the River, and other related efforts to promote the free flow of water and the free movement of fish and other native species throughout the River system.
History. The Friends did not form to advocate for dam removal, nor is that our mission now. We were established in 1996 and have cared for the River by organizing clean-ups, sharing our knowledge and appreciation of the River with others, and promoting the enjoyment of the River by developing canoe/kayak guides and launches.
Why Now? Many of the dams on the Shiawassee are no longer used or maintained for the purpose for which they were built. In recent years the public owners of the dams have had to confront difficult realities about the future of the dams and the liabilities that result from inaction. The Friends have become involved at the request of public agencies to provide broad input and to ensure that decisions about dams take into account the health of the River.
Dam Ownership. The Friends do not own any of the dams on the Shiawassee nor do we have any legal responsibility for them. We have provided advice and assistance to the public agencies that own the dams, and have complied with their requests and requirements. Decisions about dam removal are made by local and/or state governments in their capacity as owners and/or regulators.
Financial Interest. The Friends, or its members, receive no financial benefit from dam removal. The Friends of the Shiawassee River is a non-profit organization formed under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS and is registered as such with the State of Michigan. We have received several grants from public and private sources to study the dams and to assist in the removal of the dams; these funds have been used to hire professional expertise or contractor services.
Public Input. Over several years, the Friends have held several public forums and education sessions on the dams, and will hold more in the future. To the extent possible for a small, largely volunteer organization, we use various media to both solicit and share information about the dams. We welcome input and constructive engagement on the public deliberations about the future of the dams. We are committed to our mission of a healthy Shiawassee River available to the enjoyment of all.