Hydroelectric Dams Muskegon River – REAL USA Ep. 96

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the
REAL United States. I’m your host Paul Campbell, and behind the camera as always is our
camera operator and my why Beverly Campbell We’re here on the banks the Muskegon
River just south of Big Rapids Michigan again. You may remember from our last episode we
were up stream in Evert, Michigan and there was
some serious flooding going on. The water seems to have subsided a bit.
They’ve opened the spill gates on some of the dams downstream, and we wanted to show you a little bit of
that. Now behind me is the first of the dams that is downstream from where we
were. This is the Rogers dam. We’re about 4 or 5
miles south of Big Rapids, and this dam is in fact a
hydroelectric generating dam. It was built here in 1906. It belongs to
consumers Energy, and producers 6.7 megawatts of electricity for the local area. The
dam itself is 43 feet high and it’s created quite a
nice lake upstream from here that’s also used as a
recreational area for people for boating, fishing, swimming, and it’s a really nice
setting. So there are in fact 3 local dams that all belong to
Consumers Energy that are hydroelectric plants in various stages down the river, and this is just the first two then we
would like to show you. Now as you can see the water is not spilling over the dam so the the
flooding has subsided, but, I’d like to say that the reason for that is although
the snow is melted, that we haven’t really gotten into the spring rains yet this
year. So there still is concerned about
flooding, but right now at least folks are getting
a little relief and the water seems to be at a reasonable level. So we’re gonna
try and give you some more scenes here around the dam and hopefully
enjoy this small hydroelectric dam here in Big
Rapids Michigan. Okay we moved around to the
downstream side of the Rogers dam and you can see
here where the water’s coming out that they have in fact opened the spill
gates, at least a few of them are open right now, some are still closed. This is to regulate the flow of the
water and you can probably hear the rush of the water coming down alongside
of me here. So they’re keeping a close eye on this
in regulating how many of the spill gates to open to keep the water levels at the proper
elevation so there isn’t flooding further upstream and there isn’t too much water flowing
downstream to the lower areas and to the lower dams. And it’s a pretty impressive thing to
stand next to actually because the sound, I don’t know if it’s
being picked up properly, but it is a really impressive deep roar
that there is next to me and you can see the mist coming out here
as the water spills over the edge of the dam. It’s a pretty impressive sight,
I’m really enjoying this. We got a little break in the clouds so we’ve got some good light, and it’s really
really beautiful sight. The water from here starts the head
downhill quite rapidly as the terrain drops away and it’s a just a gorgeous sight. We haven’t
gotten to where that leaves are coming out yet this spring but still very very pretty. Okay we’ve moved downstream down the
Muskegon River about ten or fifteen miles and now we’re
in front of the Hardy dam. The Hardy dam is the largest of the
three dams along the river in our area. This particular dam was built in 1931. As you see it’s a pretty massive structure
this, the official measurement, and I don’t know if
that’s taken from the bottom of the channel or where, is a hundred and six feet tall so this
this massive mound of earth that yo see behind me is
actually the dam, It’s an earthen dam and this particular
dam also hydro-electric plant owned by Consumers Power generates 30 megawatts of electric energy for the local area
so again it’s the largest producing hydroelectric
plant of the three that were going to show
you. Now you can see the nineteen thirties style structure is very well maintained this is a typical sort of a industrial
or or commercial building that might have been
built in the early nineteen thirties early
1920s, out of this color brick. certainly here in this part of the world
and you’ll notice that not near as spectacular
a rush of water from this dam as there was at the Hardy
dam even though it’s a much larger dam with a much
larger body water behind it. I’m not sure exactly why that is I suspect it’s
because the majority of the water regulation is being taken care of at the Hardy dam, or the Rogers dam
rather Rogers dam upstream and but you can see this a very subdued
outlet of water. I can personally hear the turbines
running in the background behind me, they’re
relatively quiet though it’s it’s not a loud piece of machinery at
all. It’s barely audible even to me, and I’m only standing about a hundred yards away
from the building. So certainly not something that’s going
to be obnoxious or irritating to the local
residents. It’s a very quiet operating plant, and we’re not gonna show
it on camera but there are couple gentlemen down here,
one with his son, in small boats anchored that are fishing along here. So very nice peaceful
setting. The sun came out, it’s a very beautiful day, and so we’re really enjoying this, Even though we’ve heard so much
about these dams in the time that we’ve lived up here this is actually the first
opportunity we’ve had to come down close and examine them and
just see what they’re like. So this is kinda a special occasion for
us we get to share with all you. So again this is the Hardy dam and it’s got a lot more water behind it
but it’s a lot more subdued discharge. Alright folks we’ve moved about another 10 to 15
miles downstream from the Hardy dam and this is the Croton dam. We’re
down in the Newaygo County and the the Croydon dam is forty feet high. It was built in 1907 it’s another of the hydroelectric plants here
along the Muskegon River and actually generates 8.85 megawatts of electrical energy for the
local community. Now in 1907 this would have been a rather
cutting-edge piece of technology. In the first decade of the
20th century in the United States electricity was not still in wide use It didn’t actually bcome really extensively widely used in the United States
probably until midle of the 1920s, or certainly the end of the teen’s just after World War
One. So as you can see there’s a fairly
impressive amount of water that’s being allowed to come down through this bill gates that they have
open in order to regulate the water levels but as you saw earlier the flooding
situation we had a few weeks ago has largely subsided and part of that is because the
management the local governments do in order to maintain the water levels in
the water flow here at a nice even pace so that people neither upstream or
downstream are being flooded but that is an impressive amount of
water coming through those gates. You can see there’s about eight gates along here and in fact only
two of them are open right now, so that’s all that we need currently for
the existing water levels. Obviously there’s
a an emergency spillway in the middle. But I just love this early 20th century
architecture of the brickwork of these industrial buildings from that period and you can again
see that this has been very well built very well maintained. Lot of folks down here enjoying this this beautiful sunny Saturday. It’s the first really nice weather we’ve had
this spring lot of folks out fishing and enjoying
themselves so really a very pleasant, pleasant experience
today. So I’d like to thank you for joining us here
on the REAL United States, we hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you haven’t
already we encourage you to pick subscribe and join us for future episodes. If you have
questions or comments please leave them in the comment section
below. I try to get back to everybody as soon as I possibly can, and as always thank you for watching.

6 thoughts on “Hydroelectric Dams Muskegon River – REAL USA Ep. 96

  1. Water is always nice to look at,
    this source of all life!
    perhaps that is the reason why
     we will always be attracted to the water
    also because we can not live without water.


  2. Hardy Dam spills thru either the turbines or down through tubes immediately under the turbines. This is a unique system developed by William G Fargo and first used on dams on the Au Sable…The Alcona and Mio dams. A designer named Burd did the engineering work for Consumers on this dam.

  3. http://leonstaples.com/leonStaplesBuildingHardyDam5.html  Construction photos explain its design. Good stuff from Leon Staples

  4. http://reference.insulators.info/publications/view/?id=10149 More great info on Croton and Rogers from an industry publication…from back in the day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *