OSCODA, Mich., Oct. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy's popular Foote Dam access site on the Au Sable River has reopened.
The tailwater access site located near Oscoda had been closed since May for a construction project to upgrade the site, repair a sheet pile wall and improve safety for visitors. The site reopened Oct. 3.
"Consumers Energy is pleased to report the access site is now open, and, more importantly, the project was completed safely," said Richard Castle, the utility's natural resource manager for hydro generation. "Many anglers will welcome this opportunity to take advantage of the wonderful fall and winter fishery here still this season. Users of the tailwater access have been patient throughout this project, and we're pleased to offer anglers a beautiful location to enjoy the picturesque Au Sable River in a safe environment."
Minor construction activity will continue, such as sign installation and clean-up, and site users are urged to exercise caution and maintain awareness of their surroundings while visiting the Foote Dam tailwater access.
The project design was developed in consultation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which licenses and regulates Consumers Energy hydro facilities.
The access site, operated under a lease agreement by the Michigan DNR, draws anglers from throughout Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
Foote Dam was completed in 1917 and has been operated as a run-of-river dam since it received a new 40-year FERC operating license in 1994. The powerhouse includes three turbine-generators capable of producing about 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
Consumers Energy's 13 hydroelectric dams have the capacity to generate approximately 130 megawatts of renewable electricity at facilities on the Au Sable, Manistee, Muskegon, Grand and Kalamazoo Rivers. The reservoirs created by the dams provide recreational opportunities. Nearly 12,000 acres of Consumers Energy land adjacent to the dams and the reservoirs are open to the public.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
PHOTOS: View and download photos of the upgraded Foote Dam tailwater site from Consumers Energy's media gallery on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/consumersenergy/sets/72157634342591265/
AUDIO: Richard Castle, natural resource manager for hydro generation, talks about the Foote Dam tailwater improvement project: https://soundcloud.com/consumers-energy/foote-dam-site-reopens-to
SOURCE Consumers Energy