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County still waiting on permit for St. Joseph River dredging

Posted on May 1, 2024

There has been no recent movement in the effort to dredge the St. Joseph River ahead of the summer boating season.

Marina and slip owners have reported areas of the river that are too shallow for boating to be possible this year, and they asked Berrien County for help.

County Administrator Brian Dissette tells us the county agreed, along with local government partners, to seek a permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy to do dredging. However, the permit still has not been approved.

Additionally, there is not yet a plan in place to pay for the actual dredging. Dissette says the county’s role in this effort is strictly to secure the permit, while it will be up to others, like the marina owners, to cover the dredging cost. However, with no permit yet in place and no agreement reached on the cost, little has happened since the county applied to EGLE.

Meanwhile, dredging in the river is not usually allowed throughout May due to sturgeon spawning. The county could seek a waiver on that rule, and it now looks like it will have to.

Dissette tells us there are many questions related to the dredging effort that remain unanswered.


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