For Ludington pumped storage employees, the arrival of spring means more than just sunny days and warmer temperatures. It’s also the time of year when the seasonal barrier net is installed outside of the jetties and breakwall of the plant along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The 12,850-foot-long net, which consists of 62 individual panels stitched together, covers nearly 2.5 miles in Lake Michigan and is installed by April 15 each year.
“We’ve been using the net since 1989 to prevent fish from entering the plant’s powerhouse while it pumps water,” said Dave Battige, a senior regulatory engineer at the plant. “The net is removed after Oct. 15 of each year since it’s not able to withstand the harsh winter weather.”
Throughout the winter, any necessary repairs are made to the net at a warehouse in Ludington. The net is hauled to a nearby dock and placed onto two material barges that take the net out to Lake Michigan.
“Our environmental services department monitors the net’s effectiveness twice a week, weather permitting, over that six-month period,” Battige said.“It’s part of our commitment to ensure we’re delivering safe, reliable power to customers while simultaneously protecting the environment.”