Source: Grosse Pointe News Online

Dredging a necessity

by Kathy Ryan Staff Writer

December 13, 2012

GROSSE POINTE WOODS - “It has to be done, sooner rather than later.”

That was the assessment by city Councilman Todd McConaghy on dredging the city’s marina as the council, meeting as a committee of the whole Monday, Dec. 10, discussed declining lake levels and the impact it was having on Woods boaters.

“If we’re going to continue to have a marina, dredging now is a necessity,” McConaghy added.

At issue is the declining lake level brought on by recent snowless winters and rainless summers.

McConaghy, a boat owner, told the council the water level in his well has dropped 18 inches, while city administrator Al Fincham pointed out the lower levels were very evident to anyone who drives along Lakeshore, where the lake bottom is clearly visible along the shoreline.

Fincham told council he has received estimates on dredging, and sought council approval to begin the process, which begins with obtaining permits from three separate agencies.

The estimates include two separate plans, one for just the dredging of the channel leading to the lake, the other for the dredging of individual boat wells. Channel dredging ranges from $132,000 to $202,000, depending on how wide the dredging must be, with estimates being from 40 feet wide to 70 feet wide, with a length of 1,200 feet.

Dredging individual boat wells, two feet deep and 10 feet long, would add $15,000 to the overall cost.

The cost of the project would be paid for from the city’s Boat Dock Enterprise fund, funded through boat well rental fees.

Permits for the project must be obtained from the Water Resource Board in St. Clair Shores, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Noting that the City of Grosse Pointe is facing a similar issue with its marina, Fincham said he would be in contact with them to see if there could be a way some of the costs could be shared.

Woods city engineer Scott Lockwood urged the council to begin the process as soon as possible, as dredging equipment will be in high demand. The approval process could take up to 60 days, and he anticipated the dredging beginning as soon as the permits were approved, with the project being completed before the 2013 boating season.

“Everyone is in the same situation,” he told the council. “In the next year, I anticipate a lot of dredging, so the earlier we can begin, the better.”

Woods Director of Public Works Joe Ahee told the council additional work must be done on the marina, including new electrical work, water lines, repair of the seawall and several painting projects. He estimates the cost to be about $70,000.

The council agreed to add those costs to the overall project, and recommended spending $287,000 from the Boat Dock Enterprise fund to pay for the dredging and marina improvements.

Several boat owners attended the meeting, and voiced approval of the projects.

A final vote will come Monday, Dec. 17, at the regular city council meeting.