LAC LA BELLE - Low water levels in Lake Superior caused Michigan state officials to ask federal authorities to dredge Lac La Belle Harbor, and now the job will get done thanks to an agreement between Michigan and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
David Wright, chief of operations for the Army Corps of Engineers in the Detroit district office, said state officials have been asking the corps to dredge Lac La Belle Harbor for years.
"We knew we had a dredging need," he said.
Photo courtesy Bear Belly Bar and Grill
Lac La Belle Harbor is seen in this undated aerial photograph. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a project to dredge the harbor as well as Big Bay harbor in Marquette County.
However, Wright said there weren't federal funds do the job, so the state and federal officials worked out a solution.
"They came up with some emergency funds for dredging," he said.
Last spring, state officials committed $5.9 million for dredging seven shallow-draft recreational harbors, including Lac La Belle and Big Bay Harbor in Big Bay.
Wright said the cost for dredging both harbors is $283,449. Although the Corps is overseeing the projects, the dredging will be done by Great Lakes Dock and Materials of Muskegon.
A total of 11,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed from Lac La Belle and Big Bay harbors, Wright said.
"(How much will be removed is) based on the latest condition survey at the harbor," he said.
The dredging project is expected to start in the middle of October and finish in the middle of November, Wright said. The sediment removed will be placed on the shore
Wright said the last time it was dredged was 1994, which is significantly beyond its expected dredging period.
"Lac La Belle typically requires dredging every five years," he said.
However, because funding wasn't available, it wasn't dredged until now.