Standing inside the time machine we close the door and get a shock as "SNAP" we travel from the 1830's to 2014. Standing on the Pearl Street bridge over the Grand River in Grand Rapids its hard to envision the Grand River running wild and free without coffer dams and the Sixth Street dam after 160 years. Hey that's what today's whitewater kayaking enthusiasts want the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do just so they can experience the thrill of fast water recreation.
Removal of the dams does nothing to improve the experience of fishing. Faster water means danger and more drownings. Removal of dams would be detrimental to wading fishermen who will be swept off their feet. The fish ladder will cease to exist and it'll give the invasive sea lamprey easy access to every tributary stream for spawning throughout the whole upstream watershed.
Rushing water will increase the noise factor as it echoes off the buildings and around corners. Right now you are able to talk to each other on the boardwalks along the river. Increasing noisy water will reverberate off the tall buildings and outdoor eating areas will be vacant. Today you can carry on a conversation outside, but that'll be a thing of the past on bridges and sidewalks should the kayakers get their wish. I think the money would be wiser spent stopping the GR waste water systems overflows each time it rains - that system needs fixing - no its easier to pollute the river out into Lake Michigan. Grand Rapids is the Grand Rivers largest polluter.
"SNAP" lets time warp to Sunday, March 29, 2015. Grand Rapids is going to request that the downtown river rapids be included in the Corps' Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration Program for the Grand River. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is being asked to spend as much as $10 million to demolish the Six Street Dam and require them to build a new barrier to prevent sea lamprey migration upstream.
Upstream rests 1.5 miles or about 160 years of sediment and pollutant buildup that will be unleashed to load the river below Eastmanville with silt and the potential of forcing floodwaters farther from the river bank. Nobody talks about dredging the river so boats can operate? The Grand River until the early 1900's was a dredged river so who all will be impacted by the flood of silt - will the river get so shallow that boats and that steamboat can't operate? How will it impact boating above Ann Street to North Park? What will be the damages to homeowners and businesses along the river?
Lots of questions go unanswered just because a few kayakers want fast water rafting -- fishermen brings lots of money into Grand Rapids, but will the kayakers fill that void?
Well I've digressed again. Must be kayakers have more money than all the fishermen?
"SNAP" we return to the late 1820's. The incoming missionaries encountered many savage talking Indians and more so when they saw bootleg traders walking among the Indians selling them bottle of whiskey on credit. Federal government law prohibited selling spirits to Indians, but without law enforcement officers it was open season to fleece the Indians. Earlier French Traders and Jesuit missionaries tried to be good influences on the Indians mode of living only to be trashed by bootleggers who gained easy wealth off ignorant Indians. (continued).