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South Haven to get $610,000 to dredge harbor, add to beach

Dredging of South Haven’s channel is shown taking place in August of 2022 to provide beach nourishment south of South Beach. This year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to conduct a similar dredging operation to shore up South Beach, particularly to protect erosion from occurring in the section of the beach in front of the city’s water filtration plant.

Posted on March 15, 2023

South Haven is in line to receive $610,000 in funding for dredging the city’s harbor along with sand nourishment at South Beach.

The work is expected to get underway sometime in April or May, said Assistant City Manager Griffin Graham.

“Our understanding is the nourishment will be placed on South Beach,” he said.

The newest dredging and beach nourishment project follows on the heels of a similar one the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertook in August 2022.

Last year, the Corps removed about 18,000 cubic yards of material from the channel and placed it south of the South Pier. The project was meant to shore up the beach that was most affected by Lake Michigan erosion, while the Corps awaited approval through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to place dredged material from the channel along South Beach in front of the city’s water filtration plant.

This year, with approval gained from EGLE, the Corps plans to hydraulically dredge 57,300 cubic yards from the South Haven channel to place on South Beach, according to Emily Schaefer, public affairs specialist for the Corps of Engineers.

“Dredged material shall be hydraulically placed between the ordinary high water mark and the most landward four-foot depth contour beginning at the South Pier and extending 1,900 feet south,” she said. “All environmental documentation was approved and permitted by the State of Michigan EGLE prior to award. The Section 401 Water Quality Certification was amended to allow for placement in the area between the South Pier and 1,900 feet south directly in front of the water filtration facility.”

South Haven’s dredging and beach nourishment project is among $104 million worth of projects the Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District plans to undertake this year to maintain and improve harbors and rivers in Michigan, along with several construction projects, according to a news release from the Corps.

“Repairing, maintaining and improving our federal harbors and infrastructure is essential to bring resiliency to our communities, our economy and the environment,” said Detroit District Commander Lt. Col. Brett Boyle in a news release.

Other area harbors that will be dredged include Saugatuck Harbor, $895,000; St. Joseph Harbor, $1.6 million; and Grand Haven Harbor, $570,000.


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