Dredging begins at Manistee harbor

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded BayShore Contractors, LLC., a $292,460 contract for the removal of 24,500 cubic yards of material from the Manistee harbor. The material will be deposited south of the harbor in the shore area for beach nourishment.

MANISTEE — BayShore Contractors, LLC of Grand Rapids has begun dredging the Manistee harbor.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District awarded the firm a $292,460 contract for the removal of 24,500 cubic yards of material, which will be deposited south of the harbor in the shore area for beach nourishment.

The work is expected to be completed by mid-September.

“This contract helps the Corps of Engineers fulfill its important obligation to maintain the Great Lakes Navigation System for the benefit of commerce and our nation’s economic strength,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ells, district engineer in a press release. “We are pleased this important work can proceed.”

Coal, sand, salt and general cargo are transported through Manistee harbor. The project calls for a depth of 25 feet in the harbor entrance and 23 feet through the river channel.

According to the Corps, approximately 80,000 to 120,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged from Manistee on a two to three year cycle. The harbor also was dredged last year.

According to Lynn Rose, U.S. Army Corps public affairs officer, Manistee is not currently scheduled to be dredged again in 2014. Rose also added that recent rising water levels will not affect the amount to be dredged this year.

“Things change, but as far as the budget goes for 2014, Manistee is not on that list,” she said.

“Water levels typically don’t make a difference,” she continued. “They dredge down to authorized depth or on how much they can get on the contract. We know approximately how much we need to dredge a year or two in advance. Right now, we are working on 2015.”

A loss of one to two feet of channel depth results in increased transportation costs of between $286,000 and $563,000 annually due to light loading of freighters, according to the Corps.

An average of 30 freighters pass through the channel annually, according to Manistee public works director Jeff Mikula.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District maintains a navigation system of 91 harbors and four connecting channels, including the channels joining lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie.

 

Manistee harbor facts:

• Five year average (2006-2010) tonnage is 502,000 tons of material shipped and received;

• Ranked 45th among Great Lakes harbors based on five-year average tonnage;

• More than 6,000 feet of structures including breakwaters, piers and revetments; and

• About two miles of maintained channel.

Consequences of not maintaining the Manistee harbor include:

• Significant loss of jobs both locally and regionally;

• Five major industrial facilities are served by the harbor and receive material via ship. Not all facilities have accessible rail lines;

• Shutdown of Filer City Generating Station by this harbor may impact electric grid stability in Northern Michigan;

• Reduction of bulk commodities that pass through the harbor and generate $18 million annually in direct revenue while supporting 237 direct, indirect and induced jobs that produce more than $15 million each year in personal income; and

• Failure to maintain the harbor may impact consideration of Manistee as a potential site for future industrial facilities.

Manistee Harbor stakeholders include:

• U.S. Coast Guard;

• Lake Carriers’ Association;

• Martin Marietta Corporation;

• American Materials;

• T.E.S. Filer City Station;

• Morton Salt;

• Packaging Corporation of America;

• North Star Ethanol; and

• Many Northern Michigan county road commissions.

Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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