USA: Dredging Completed at New Buffalo Harbor
Dredging operations from both the Federal Navigation Channel and the Launch Access Channel (between the Whittaker Street Bridge and the City Boat Launch) are complete, and the New Buffalo Harbor is open.
The U.S. Army of Engineers’ contractor for the Federal Navigation Channel addressed the ‘trouble spot’ at the harbormouth and they will soon be on their way to their next dredging operation. Funding to dredge this area was paid for from Superstorm Sandy relief money allocated by Congress.
Dredging the Launch Access Channel and the City Transient Marina slips near the Comfort Station was completed by the City’s contractor, Donkersloot and Sons Marine. This dredging was funded thanks to a grant from the State of Michigan Waterways Commission.
The Bridge to City Boat Launch dredge material was previously tested and have been taken to an upland disposal site near M-239 and Wilson Road. The marina slips dredge material needs further testing and will not be disposed of from the City Boat Launch parking lot until those tests are complete – most likely after the Fourth of July.
The State of Michigan’s Emergency Dredging Plan states that the total average annual economic impact of registered boats on Michigan’s economy yields: $3.9 billion in trip and craft spending, $1.9 billion in value added, $1.3 billion in personal income, and 51,329 jobs.
The economic impact of New Buffalo Harbor on all of Harbor Country is also monumental. The Harbor generates over $7.7 million in revenue throughout the area, which supports 130 jobs, and those jobs generate $2.5 million annually in labor income (source: New Buffalo Harbor Fact Sheet, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, 2010.)
The Waterways Grant amount will be determined by the quantity dredged, but it is expected to be over $300,000. In a public-private partnership, the boat slips of Harbor Pointe Shores will also be dredged by the City’s contract as Launch Access Channel is dredged. Harbor Pointe Shores is paying over $100,000 for this work, including shared engineering and mobilization costs, saving the City an estimated $20,000.
The City is grateful Congress is again funding dredging of the Federal Navigation Channel, which they last funded in 2010. In 2011 and 2012, the City of New Buffalo dredged the Federal Navigation Channel thanks to grants from The Pokagon Fund and funding from the City’s Emergency Harbor Dredging Fund (a fund by contributions from the City and harbor associations, i.e. The Moorings, Oselka Marina, South Cove, Harbor Landings, Harbor Pointe Shores, Lake Michigan Yacht Club, Dunewood, and Pleasure Isle Marina.)
Since 2009, approximately $600,000 has been spent to keep just the Federal Navigation Channel open ($274,000 from The Pokagon Fund; $217,000 from Congress; and about $109,000 from the City’s Emergency Harbor Dredging Fund.) The USACE budget request for New Buffalo Federal Navigation Channel dredging in fiscal year 2013 is $270,000.
The City supports the efforts of Senator Carl Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Congressman Fred Upton, to get the RAMP Act or a similar measure approved by Congress.
Part of comprehensive harbor maintenance funding reform includes investment in repairing New Buffalo Harbor’s federal breakwater infrastructure, and designating the Launch Access Channel as part of the Federal Navigation Channel.
Press Release, July 8, 2013