The unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. said it installed an upwelling system last year in the reservoir behind Tippy Dam to benefit downstream fish that thrive in cold water. The utility's system allows dam operators to essentially lift deeper, colder water into the plant's intake area to provide cooler flows downstream.
The dam is in Manistee County, near Wellston, about 40 miles southwest of Traverse City.
Operators plan to activate the system during especially warm spells this summer. During initial testing in 2012, the system lowered downstream water temperatures two degrees. Design tests indicate it may be able to reduce the water temperature up to three degrees.
"Trout and young salmon become stressed when river temperatures get much higher than 70 degrees," Mark Tonello, fisheries biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said in a statement. "It may not sound like much, but a couple-degree reduction in water temperature can make a huge difference."
The project at Tippy Dam includes the fabrication and installation of the system, an air compressor, a building to house the air compressor, as well as the computer modeling and design. State and federal officials are among those who have been consulted on the project.