Grand River Dredging on Hold

  • Business & Finance

A plan to dredge a section of the Grand River, aimed to restore navigability of the Grand River from downtown Grand Rapids to Grand Haven in Michigan, has been postponed officially.

This Grand River Waterway Project’s release comes after months of inaction by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding soil sampling testing, which has been stalled by the DNR since February, despite the fact that funding for the testing has already been approved by the state.

“We are obviously disappointed that the DNR has not conducted the soil sampling,” said Dan Hibma, spokesman for the GRWW.

“Regardless of how one might view the proposed project, it would be important to all to have that study completed and better understand whether or not the project could move forward or not. GRWW has reached out to the DNR but has received no response. We realize that we can’t move forward if the DNR does not move forward.”

Public discussion regarding the project, which seeks providing a 22.5-mile buoyed waterway from Fulton St. in Grand Rapids to the Bass River inlet, has been plagued by erroneous information, he added.

Key facts regarding the project include:

  • The project is currently in the fact-finding stages;
  • The project has successfully completed a first time ever topographic study, mussel study, and economic study;
  • The project would partner with key organizations to help ensure the protection and improvement of the river’s water quality and wildlife habitats;
  • No application to dredge the river has been filed;
  • 16.44 miles of the proposed project is left untouched providing miles of natural mitigation;
  • A final engineered waterway could only come after all the studies are completed.

The West Michigan poll conducted earlier this year also indicated that 67 percent of the respondents said they favorably view environmentally sound, partial dredging of the Grand River to allow expanded, safe usage for boating and personal watercraft enthusiasts.

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