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What We Do Home>Environmental Planning>Watersheds, Water Quality & Wetlands>Paw Paw River Watershed>Watervliet Dam Removal

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Watervliet Dams Removal Project

Project Overview - Paw Paw River Restoration

This project restored the Paw Paw River by removing both the spillway and diversion dams located just east of M-140 at Watervliet.  After removal, the river channel and banks will be restored to improve fish habitat and water quality. 


With over 40 fish species, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division and The Nature Conservancy consider the Paw Paw River one ofppr_10.jpg the highest quality freshwater systems in the Great Lakes Basin.  Currently, the Watervliet Dam is the only obstruction on the Paw Paw River from Lake Michigan to the Maple Lake dam in Paw Paw Village.  The Watervliet dams restrict the movement of fish and other aquatic animals upstream to over 100 miles of river and stream habitat. 


The dams removal project is listed as high priority in several plans including:

  • Berrien County Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Paw Paw River Watershed Management Plan, and 
  • St. Joseph River Watershed Assessment.


Photo Gallery

Watervliet Construction Slide Show (Photos provided by ECT)

Download graphic showing dam locations (Acrobat Reader needed -7 MB file size)

Public Events and Project Progress

Project Benefits

Project Team

Pre and Post Fish Community Monitoring

Watervliet Dams History

General information on dam removal

River Restoration Sign


Project Performance Monitoring Report Watervliet Dams Removal Paw Paw River, MI 2013


Project Completion Final Report Watervliet Dams Removal Paw Paw River, MI 2014


If you have questions or concerns, please contact Marcy Hamilton (hamiltonm@swmpc.org or 269-925-1137 x 1525) or you can register as a user (top of the page next to search) and then post a comment below.


This page last updated on 3/22/2018.
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission  
376 West Main Street  Suite 130  Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651
Phone: 269.925.1137  Fax: 269.925.0288  

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