Replenishing Michigan’s eroding beaches

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will use western Michigan harbor dredge material to nourish and replenish Lake Michigan beaches from recent high water level erosion.

“Nourishing beaches using shoaled sand into these harbors rather than trucking in new material is very functional and cost effective,” said Grand Haven Resident Engineer Elizabeth Newell Wilkinson. “It allows for both dredging and beach nourishment.”

USACE sampled and analyzed the harbor dredged material to determine if it is suitable for beneficial reuse as nearshore nourishment material. The sampling results indicate the proposed outer harbor dredge material is suitable for beneficial reuse as nourishment material.

The Army Corps awarded contracts to dredge Holland, Grand Haven, St. Joseph and South Haven harbors this spring season. The King Co., Inc. of Holland, Michigan will dredge over 85,000 cubic yards from the four areas.

“That’s roughly 7,100 one-ton dump trucks full,” said Wilkinson, “That’s a lot of great beneficial sand for Michigan’s beaches.”

King Company began hydraulically dredging Grand Haven Harbor this week and is removing over 18,000 cubic yards of material from the outer harbor (lakeward of the pierheads) and pumping it 8,000 to 11,000 feet north of the north pier. This work should be complete by May 31.

Material from the remaining three projects will go south of the south breakwater.

St. Joseph Harbor dredging should begin June 6 and take eight days to hydraulically dredge about 18,000 cubic yards from the federal navigation channel.

South Haven Harbor dredging should begin June 15, running through June 24, and will hydraulically dredge about 18,000 cubic yards from the federal navigation channel.

Dredging at Holland Harbor took place May 13 through May 17 and removed about 31,000 cubic yards of material from the outer harbor (lakeward of the breakwaters).

Photo: USACE