Posted on June 28, 2023
The entrance of the Black River Canal has been closed around the mouth of the waterway at Lake Huron while it awaits to be dredged ahead of the July 4 holiday.
Port Huron Public Works Director Eric Witter said the area of the canal was last dredged by crews the week before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but that winds swept in over the last week and filled in the canal’s mouth — also leaving the area potentially impassable to some boaters.
“There’s been some times in the past where it’s been a couple weeks,” Witter said Monday when asked about how common it was to re-dredge an area within a month. “It’s really dependent upon Michigan and Mother Nature and what direction the wind comes from. We had a lot of north, northeast winds that caused the fill-in over the last couple of weeks.”
The locally-based Boddy Construction is the City Council-approved contractor, as it has been previously, for the year’s dredging activities around the canal.
However, the last dredging agreement OK’d in January also combined the work with an armoring project delayed from last fall — an effort designed to save the city funds and also shore up the banks of the canal around the tainter gate.
And for much of the last year, officials have cited the need to combate erosion in the same discussions addressing annual maintenance dredging.
The mouth of canal can be dredged every spring and summer because of the sand buildup, though the dredging itself is allowed on a permit-basis and based on the number of cubic yards through the Michigan Department of Environmen, Great Lakes, and Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
City Manager James Freed said the city will likely have to revisit its deal with its township partners, as Port Huron Township and Fort Gratiot residents have acess to the canal, as its current one expires. He added, “People need to realize the cost has become extraordinary” to dredge the waterway.