The Leland Township Harbor Commission is currently raising funds in an effort to purchase a dredger, Leland Michigan Chamber of Commerce has announced on its official website.
“We have identified a particular size and type of dredger that we think would be suitable for our needs, and we have a price quote of approximately $500.000,” Leland Township Harbor Commission said.
“Careful analysis of our needs and the dredger’s capabilities has been conducted, we are confident we have identified the right equipment for our needs and have the ability to operate it.”
While Leland Harbor has approximately $300.000 in financial reserves at this time, they are still not enough to pay for the cost of this purchase.
Harbormaster Russell Dzuba said that he closed off the harbor after a recent storm and that it will stay closed in the spring, the Traverse City Record-Eagle informs.
“We just had a nasty storm a week ago Monday that sealed the deal. It’s closed off,” said Dzuba. “It doesn’t matter what happens this winter, when it comes to springtime, we are closed.”
In 1965, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) built the Leland Township Harbor as a “harbor of refuge.” Since then, the Leland Harbor has been dredged a total of 47 times at a cost now approaching $3.4 million.
During the last six years, the cost has been approximately $850.000 to have dredging completed.
Annual dredging has routinely been conducted by the USACE in order to assure the accessibility of the harbor in all weather conditions, with federal funding.
All that changed about 10 years ago when Congress eliminated “earmarks” in the federal budgeting process.
Since that time, Leland Harbor has had as its annual singular focus the need to obtain funding to conduct its annual dredging.
In 2013, the harbor had to pay $129.000 of its own funds to have the channel dredged. Three years ago, the State of Michigan provided the necessary funding in the amount of $192.000 and two years ago, the USACE spent $177.000 to complete the dredging.
In 2016 the Leland Harbor was not dredged.
The USACE was not able to fund dredging, despite the fact that the annual bathymetric survey conducted by the USACE showed that 18.000 cubic yards needed to be removed from the channel to achieve the designated depth of 14 feet.
The State of Michigan offered $100.000 in matching funds for dredging, but Leland Township was unable to secure the services of a dredger on a timely basis to complete the dredging for the summer season.
“The Leland Township Harbor Commission has dealt with this situation for a long time, and we have arrived at the conclusion that the only long term solution for this recurring problem is to
purchase our own dredger to conduct the annual dredging,” the officials said in its latest announcement.