Dredging activities move forward in Michigan harbors and marinas
Michigan state agencies direct money at critical dredging efforts in order to sustain the economic and recreational benefits of boating.
After the passage of the “Dredging Assistance Package” in March of this year, Michigan marinas and harbors are moving forward with dredging projects across the state. The package includes numerous policy changes designed to expedite and assist communities and private marinas in funding dredging activities, including: modification of the permitting process, redirecting money from Michigan State Waterways Commission –funded projects towards dredging activities, suspending the local match requirement for community harbors, and creating a loan program for private marinas. The package, which totals $20.9 million, is a major step in ensuring that the owners and users of the 800,000 registered boats in Michigan can get out on the water and contribute to the $3.9 billion annual economic impact that boating provides in Michigan.
Michigan state agencies have already moved forward with creating tools to help communities understand what the Dredging Assistance Package entails. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has created a 2013 Emergency Dredging Community Toolkit that provides an overview of the Dredging Assistance Package, map of critical short-term dredging needs in Michigan, and documents that list permitting changes and contact information for dredging companies in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Treasury has an overview of the Marina Dredging Loan Orientation Program, which utilizes $1 million from the Dredging Assistance Package to pay for a portion of the administrative costs financial institutions incur from providing dredging loans to marinas who have received the required permits from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Michigan Sea Grant Extension has been involved with education efforts for communities to understand the social, environmental, and economic impacts of low lake levels, as well as the economic benefit of recreational boating in Michigan. Michigan Sea Grant Extension is part of the Michigan Sea Grant College Program that operates within Michigan State University Extension.