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Dam Mediation Approved by County

Friday, April, 12, 2019


Mediation is set to begin in an attempt to resolve the dispute concerning the Alverno Dam.


Cheboygan County was given a mediation agreement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for review and approval, but both the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners and FERC are in agreement that mediation will be confidential and the mediator will not have the authority to levy a resolution without both sides agreeing to the outcome – two things that are the norm in mediation.


The dispute concerns the water levels of Black Lake. Involved are Cheboygan County, Black Lake Preservation Society, Black Lake Association, and Black River LP. FERC has been trying to help all involved come to an agreement concerning the long-term operation of Alverno Dam, a hydroelectric dam.


According to Cheboygan County Administrator Jeff Lawson, the lake levels were established by a court order in 1965. Lawson shared his sentiments publicly about the upcoming mediation stating, ““The hope is that the parties involved will come to an agreement on the operation levels and how it affects the Black Lake levels in relation to Smith Rapids.”


Many are hoping mediation makes it possible for the public to have its input heard and that parties involved are able to come to some sort of an agreement as to how to better maintain the lake levels.


Concerns over lake levels have been ongoing for many years and are often raised by residents along Black Lake and the Black River asking if levels should be lowered to avoid damage to properties from the ice.