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Major dredging project underway for Charlevoix Harbor

About 13,000 cubic yards of material is scheduled to be removed from the Charlevoix Harbor channel before May 15, as part of a maintenance dredging contract under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.

Posted on April 22, 2024

An underwater makeover is in store for the Charlevoix Harbor as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers embarks on a major dredging project.

Starting April 10 and running through May 15, approximately 13,000 cubic yards of material will be removed from the channel.

The project, funded in 2022 and contracted in 2023, will cost around $480,000 and will be carried out by Great Lakes Dock and Materials, LLC., based in Muskegon. The dredged materials will be placed in a state-approved location about a mile and a half northwest of the harbor entrance.

According to the Corps of Engineers, the Charlevoix Harbor channel plays a crucial role in supporting various activities, including the operations of the U.S. Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, commercial traffic like the ferry service to Beaver Island and recreational boat use. The Charlevoix City Marina, renovated in 2007, welcomes approximately 1,500 visitors annually by boat.

While citing the need for maintenance dredging every 10 to 15 years, a 2023 report from the Army Corps indicates a project of this magnitude hasn’t occurred since 1984.

Maintained under the U.S. Rivers and Harbors Act, the Charlevoix Harbor is a deep draft harbor, with depths maintained up to 18 feet in Lake Michigan and the inner channels of Lake Charlevoix. The project aims to be completed before May 15 to safeguard fish spawning, as dredging is prohibited in the channel from May 15 to July 15 by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The Army Corps advises the public to steer clear of areas where dredging is active and adhere to posted warning signs. Lights and signs will be in place to mark the discharge vessels offshore. For navigation information within the dredging area, mariners can contact Dredge Justin Avery and Tug Defiance on VHF channels 16 and 18, as noted by U.S. Coast Guard Charlevoix Station Chief Brad Bishop.

The Justin Avery reenters the Pine River Channel on April 19 as part of the ongoing Charlevoix Harbor dredging project.

“All mariners are requested to transit the area with caution,” Bishop said.


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