Channel dredging begins at Michigan's Manistee Harbor

Manistee Harbor Michigan
Manistee Harbor in Manistee, Michigan, in 2016US Army Corps of Engineers

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Detroit District, has begun dredging the Manistee Harbor federal navigational channel. The objective is to remove shoaling that prevents deep-draught commercial vessel traffic.

On April 23 of this year, a commercial vessel attempted to enter Manistee Harbor with a draught of 19 feet (5.8 metres) but was halted due to conditions. Surveys found the harbour was unable to be passed at that draught. USACE issued a notice to vessel traffic the same day and continues to coordinate closely with the US Coast Guard to maintain safe passage in the area.

The USACE was previously scheduled to perform maintenance dredging of the harbour later in the summer. However, quick coordination between staff and the contractor enabled the project to be prioritised with a June start date.

About 33,000 cubic yards (25,000 cubic metres) of sediment will be removed from the harbour under a US$581,000 contract with King Company of Holland, Michigan. Funding for the project will come from the Fiscal Year 2022 President’s Budget (PBUD).

Dredged material will be placed along the shoreline 3,000 feet (900 metres) south of the southern breakwater and extend for about 2,000 feet (600 metres). Some placement will occur at a four-foot (1.2-metre) depth nearshore where the dredged material cannot be placed on the shore without disrupting the natural aesthetics of the beach or prevent public users and boats from safely traversing the area. The project is scheduled to conclude on or before July 31.

Manistee Harbor is a federal harbour and channel project under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1960. Section 107 of the act gives the USACE the authority to improve navigation including dredging of channels, as well as other improvements to facilitate federal and commercial traffic.

The mouth of the river is Congressionally authorised to be maintained to a depth of 25 feet (7.6 metres) and a width of 570 feet (170 metres). The Detroit District maintains navigation throughout the Manistee River federal channel between Lake Michigan and Manistee Lake in an area about two miles (3.2 kilometres) long.

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