Corresponding Author

Ryan Filbin


This paper uses hydrologic modeling methods to determine the effects of dam removal in Lansing, Michigan, on the streamflow of the Grand River, flooding risks, and flood mitigation strategies. In Michigan, more than one-half of the state’s dam infrastructure is more than 50 years old, and more than one-third are classified as having a moderate-to high-risk potential. Lansing, Michigan, contains two moderate-to high-risk dams along the Grand River that are a significant hazard to the surrounding community in the event of structural failure. This research utilizes the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to model the impacts of the Moores Park Dam and the North Lansing Dam on streamflow in the greater Lansing area. The purpose of using SWAT was to represent baseline streamflow conditions in the Grand River, compare the differences in streamflow magnitude between baseline conditions and a "dam-out" environment, and interpret the implications of modeling results for mitigation and management strategies in the study area. Our model exhibited similar streamflow patterns to USGS historical data, with overestimation errors during calibration and validation stemming from groundwater infiltration inaccuracies. The dams-out model for streamflow was higher than the baseline model for streamflow; however, both model iterations require further calibration and validation for the magnitude differences to be considered statistically significant. Despite issues of model calibration and validation, and ongoing model adjustments for accurately representing heavily impounded watershed, the results of this study provide a template for the City of Lansing to adapt their flood mitigation strategies in the study area and further calibrate SWAT with improved sediment, nutrient, and dam attribute data.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.