Consumers Energy River Improvement Projects Are Refreshing To Trout And Anglers Alike

   Consumers Energy River Improvement Projects Are Refreshing To Trout And
                                Anglers Alike

PR Newswire

CADILLAC, Mich., July 3, 2013

CADILLAC, Mich., July 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Consumers Energy is helping
Manistee River fish stay cooler this summer even as the days get hotter.

Last August, the utility installed an upwelling system in the reservoir behind
Tippy Dam to benefit downstream fish species that thrive in cold water, such
as brown trout and Chinook salmon. This allows dam operators to essentially
lift water from the deeper, colder, portion of Tippy pond into the plant's
intake area to provide cooler flows downstream.

Operators will activate the system during especially warm spells in the
summer. In order to maintain a cold water supply, the "bubbler" will run only
at night for six hours when needed. During initial testing in 2012, the system
lowered downstream water temperatures two degrees. Design tests indicate it
may be able to reduce the water temperature up to three degrees.

"Study after study has shown that trout and young salmon become stressed when
river temperatures get much higher than 70 degrees," said Mark Tonello,
fisheries biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. "It may
not sound like much, but a couple-degree reduction in water temperature can
make a huge difference in keeping the temperature below that threshold and in
making a river habitat hospitable to cold-water fish species."

Tonello points out that the upwelling system is the next step in river habitat
improvements. Fish populations and anglers have been benefiting from Tippy Dam
being operated by federal license agreement as run-of-river since 1994.

"The more steady flows that have resulted from run-of-river operations have
provided a tremendous benefit and has allowed us to create an excellent
year-round brown trout fishery below Tippy, and it has certainly improved
Chinook salmon natural reproduction," said Tonello. "Efforts to keep the
downstream flows cooler should improve the health of the fish even more, and
in turn, make anglers happy."

The $500,000 project at Tippy Dam includes the fabrication and installation of
the system, an air compressor, a building to house the air compressor, as well
as the computer modeling and design. It helps fulfill an agreement with state
and federal resource agencies as part of the utility's new Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission license agreements for its 11 hydro generating

The enhancements are developed in consultation with the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest
Service, and the Michigan Hydro Relicensing Coalition.

"Our hydro facilities are located in some of the most beautiful locations in
Michigan, and at Consumers Energy we are proud to offer a wide range of
outdoor recreational opportunities on the properties surrounding our dams and
reservoirs, including hiking, camping and fishing," said William Schoenlein,
manager of hydro and renewable generation and plant manager of Ludington
Pumped Storage.

"Working to improve river conditions is consistent with our goal of being good
stewards of the natural resources we are blessed with in Michigan where our
employees, families, friends and neighbors live, work and play."

Upwelling systems, similar to the one installed at Tippy Dam, have been
installed at other Consumers Energy hydroelectric facilities on Michigan
Rivers. The first was installed at Hodenpyl Dam upstream of Tippy Dam on the
Manistee River in 2007. Systems were also installed at Mio Dam on the Au Sable
River and Croton Dam on the Muskegon River in 2010.

In addition to investing in upwelling systems, Consumers Energy is required as
part of its hydro licensing to annually fund an account the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources administers to use for projects that benefit
fish habitat.

In 2012, Consumers Energy provided the DNR's Fish Habitat Improvement Account
$647,926 for fisheries research, habitat improvement and stream restoration
activities. Highlights of the HIA work in 2012 include:

  o$130,000 to continue a study of the Muskegon River steelhead fishery
    downstream of Croton Dam.
  o$100,000 to remove a dilapidated bridge to prevent sediment from entering
    Yates Creek, a Pine River tributary that flows into the Manistee River
  o$42,236 for a creel survey on the Au Sable River to gauge stocking success
  o$40,000 to place woody structure in Bear Creek, a Manistee River tributary

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of
CMS Energy, providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of Michigan's
10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Photos courtesy of Consumers Energy are available for use in news media
publications at our online Flicker site.

A photo of the upwelling system at Tippy Hydro is available here:

A photo of Tippy Dam is available here:

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SOURCE Consumers Energy

Contact: Consumers Energy, Terry DeDoes, 517-374-2159 or Roger Morgenstern,
616-530-4364; or Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Mark Tonello, (231)
775-9727, ext. 6071
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