Residents say dam removal causing flooding and health problems

Some Boardman River residents were up to their thighs in water on Monday.

People who live in the Boardman Plains neighborhood were up to their thighs in water Monday.

'We've lived here twenty years and we've never seen the Boardman breach it's banks as it has," Tom Gardner said.

Gardner said since the rain started falling Sunday, the river has risen about one inch an hour.

On Monday, it was about four feet above normal.

To leave his nieghborhood, Gardner said he would need waders.

"We are fearful that our things have been ruined and our property's been permanently damaged," he said.

It's also creating some safety concerns.

"We are surrounded by water on one side of our property, Gardner said. "The people further down..their houses are surrounded.

Barbara Reneaud is one of them. The first flood in 2012 damaged their cottage that was their main source of income.

They had to evacuated from their home of 40 years because of mold spores from the water.

"We were forced to move into a 35-year-old mobile home that's here on the property," Reneaud said.

Reneaud said the mold has also given her severe asthma problems, explaining the way her voice sounds.

The water under the bridge to get to their home has gotten so high, it's considered unsafe to use.

"The deterioration of the bridge has reached a point where we've had to sign waivers for the propane tanks to come and take care of us," she said.

Reneaud and her husband have used all of their savings to try and get compensation they haven't seen yet.

"I haven't seen anyone from the city, county or anyone that was involved in the removal of the dam," Garnder said.

Residents have a lawsuit pending against the city for their losses, that's related to the controversial removal of the dam in 2012.

It has all taken an emotional toll on the people who live here, as they deal with major financial problems caused by something outside of their control.

"We had a really nice life prior to this," Reneaud said. "I spent last week with a cart in Father Fred's pantry picking up food. I've never been in a position financially for something I wasn't responsible for".

The DNR hosted a public meeting Monday night to look at ways to improve the Boardman River Plan.

Many residents expressed their concerns. The DNR acknowledged what they've been through, and agreed to take it into consideration before removing any more dams.

They couldn't discuss many of the property damage issues, because it's still pending litigation.

Residents can submit their comments and concerns to the Traverse City DNR office until May 16th.