04.03.17

Peters, Stabenow Lead Bipartisan Delegation Letter to Trump Administration Urging Funding for Dredging of Recreational Harbors in Michigan

The letter was also signed by Representatives John Conyers, Sander Levin, Fred Upton, Bill Huizenga, Dan Kildee, Dave Trott, Debbie Dingell, Brenda Lawrence, John Moolenaar, Jack Bergman, and Paul Mitchell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow led a bipartisan delegation letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney requesting that funding for dredging of recreational and commercial harbors in Michigan be included in the fiscal year 2018 budget.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not included operation and maintenance funding to dredge Michigan harbors over the last several fiscal years.

“These harbors are critical to commercial and recreational navigation, public safety, and the economies of our state and local communities” wrote the lawmakers.  “We hope to see funds set aside for this long overdue work in the FY2018 U.S. Army we hope to see funds set aside for this long overdue and much needed work in the FY2018 U.S. Army Corp of Engineers budget proposal.”

The letter was also signed by Representatives John Conyers, Sander Levin, Fred Upton, Bill Huizenga, Dan Kildee, Dave Trott, Debbie Dingell, Brenda Lawrence, John Moolenaar, Jack Bergman, and Paul Mitchell. 

The full text of the letter may be found below. 

 

April 3, 2017

The Honorable Mick Mulvaney

Director, Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Mulvaney,

We write to request that the FY2018 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget include Operation and Maintenance funding for much needed dredging of federally authorized shallow draft harbors in Michigan.  These harbors are critical to commercial and recreational navigation, public safety, and the economies of our state and local communities.  

It is our understanding that none of Michigan’s federally authorized Low Use Shallow Draft harbors received Operation and Maintenance funding in the FY2016 work plan nor are currently budgeted for funding in FY2017.  This is also the case for multiple Low Use Deep Draft harbors that are of great importance to our state and local municipalities.  The following are examples of shallow harbors and navigation channels that are emblematic of the funding shortfalls across Michigan:

Arcadia Harbor requires annual maintenance dredging of 5,000 cubic yards. The harbor was last dredged in 2010 using state funding, and limited dredging was completed by the local community in 2012.  While the depth of the harbor is authorized to be maintained at 10 feet, recent surveys show depths of 4 feet.  This Harbor of Refuge supports charter fishing and recreational navigation interests, and is critical to the local economy.

  • Leland Harbor, last dredged in 2014, requires annual maintenance dredging of approximately 17,000 cubic yards.  We understand the depth of navigation channel at the mouth of the harbor is now 1 foot, 90% shallower than the authorized depth.  Leland is the only Harbor of Refuge for a 30-mile stretch of Lake Michigan; it supports commercial, tribal and charter fishing; provides fueling and mooring for commercial and recreational vessels; and is the site for a local ferry and National Park Service vessels that transport park personnel, materials and the public to North and South Manitou Islands.
  • Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Superior, last dredged in 2009, requires dredging of up to 20,000 yards of material every three to five years.  The depths of the harbor and channel are authorized at 12 feet, but we understand that shoaling has become so severe that material has accumulated at or above surface water levels.  This Harbor of Refuge supports important charter fishing and navigation interests.
  • Clinton River, last dredged in 2009, requires maintenance dredging of 20,000 cubic yards every three to five years.  Recent surveys show the current depths of the project to be 3 feet shallower than the authorized depth of 9 feet. This important Harbor of Refuge supports significant charter fishing and recreational boating; is the highest use public access site/boat launch in the State of Michigan; and is home to the Macomb County Sheriff Marine Division headquarters.
  • New Buffalo, last dredged in 2013, requires 10,000 cubic yards of material to be dredged annually or every other year. Recent surveys found the depth of the harbor to be 5 feet, 50% shallower than the authorized depth. This Harbor of Refuge supports charter fishing and recreational navigation interests (including more than 1,000 recreational boat slips).
  • Saugatuck Harbor, last dredged in 2013, requires 42,000 cubic yards to be dredged every three to four years. This Harbor of Refuge is critical to local jobs tied to recreational and charter fishing as well as cruise vessels. 
  • Pentwater Harbor requires near annual dredging of roughly 12,500 cubic yards. However, it was last dredged in 2010 using Michigan regional dredging provision funding, and the local community performed limited dredging in 2012. This Harbor of Refuge is critical to recreational and charter boating and fishing, and the revenues these activities generate for local businesses.
  • Little Lake Harbor requires annual dredging of roughly 19,000 cubic yards. It was last dredged in 2013 using funds provided by the State of Michigan as part of a contributed funds agreement with the USACE. The depths of the harbor and channel are authorized at 12 feet, but we understand that shoaling has become so severe that material has currently accumulated at or above surface water levels. This Harbor of Refuge supports important charter fishing and recreational navigation interests.
  • Inland Route, last dredged in 1999, requires dredging of approximately 10,000 cubic yards every seven to twelve years.  It is our understanding that shoaling has become so severe that it is impacting the ability of water control structures to properly function.
  • Lexington Harbor, last dredged in 2014 with funds provided by the State of Michigan, requires 20,000 to 30,000 cubic yards to be dredged every three to five years.  The harbor, which is currently in need of dredging, is an important Harbor of Refuge that is also critical to charter fishing and recreational navigation interests.  The harbor also supports a public and private marina with 190 seasonal and transient slips and the local community generates significant income from users and visitors to the area.

Thank you for your consideration, and we hope to see funds set aside for this long overdue and much needed work in the FY2018 U.S. Army Corp of Engineers budget proposal.  Addressing the needs facing many of our small harbors is critical to recreational and commercial navigation, public safety, and our state and local communities’ economies.