Ryan Filbin

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Laiyin Zhu

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook

Third Advisor

Dr. Lei Meng


Modeling, water resources, dams, SWAT, hydrology

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The removal of dams has increased in recent decades in the United States, largely resulting from decaying infrastructure and greater efforts to restore rivers to a more natural, free-flowing state. Dam removal presents the opportunity for increased public safety, improved environmental prosperity, and improved economic prosperity in conjunction with riverfront revitalization projects. The City of Lansing, Michigan, contains two moderate-to high-risk dams along the Grand River that pose a significant risk to the surrounding area in the event of structural failure.

The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is applied to model the impacts of the Moores Park Dam and the North Lansing Dam on streamflow magnitude within downtown Lansing. The study used SWAT to recreate conditions in the Grand River watershed to approximate the differences in stream discharge with the dams in place and with the dams removed. It was hypothesized that removal of these structures will coincide with a decrease in stream discharge and downstream flooding concerns. Despite adjusting hydrologic parameters that effect the watershed, the model was unable to replicate baseline watershed conditions. Future research could be improved with more primary data collected in field studies.