Boaters docked at Great Lakes Memorial Marina in Menominee will be heading out two weeks early this year to allow for a $1.4 million dredging operation to begin. The dredging is necessary to keep larger boats from bottoming out in the shallow water.<br>EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
Boaters docked at Great Lakes Memorial Marina in Menominee will be heading out two weeks early this year to allow for a $1.4 million dredging operation to begin. The dredging is necessary to keep larger boats from bottoming out in the shallow water.
EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
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MENOMINEE - The boating season will end a couple weeks early at Great Lakes Memorial Marina in Menominee. A $1.4 million dredging project will begin as the final boats pull out Oct. 1. Officials want to seize all the good weather they can in order to complete the project by the end of the year.
The season normally runs May 15 through Oct. 15 but due to low water levels on the lakes, the state of Michigan authorized a $1.2 million grant for emergency dredging at the marina. The other $218,000 will come from the city and will be used for additional dredging not covered under the emergency measure. The city council will vote Monday on approving the resolution for the grant amendment.
The low water levels inside the marina make it easier for larger boats to bottom out. The Marina Management Group (MMG) sent a letter to boaters earlier this month explaining they needed their boats to be out by the first of October to begin operations to rectify the situation.
"It's been kind of a hectic thing," explained Jim Kudlicki, head of the MMG. "Between trying to get the state's information and the legal documents back and forth, it's just been logistically difficult to nail down."
Kudlicki admitted the early depart date could be a bit of a hardship for some people but that nearly everyone he's spoken with has been in favor of the plan and understood the need. The letter encouraged boaters to contact the MMG if they wanted a rebate for the unused time or if they had other issues.
"Many of our boater leave long before the end of the month (September)," said Kudlicki. "We've had a couple issues, some just needed more information. We've taken care of anything that anybody wants."
The plan now calls for contractors to come in at the end of the month and start blocking off the entrance to the marina on Oct. 1. The entire marina will be pumped out into the bay, leaving a dry bed inside. It will give marina officials, the city engineer and others an opportunity to examine the inner breakwall from top to bottom, the footings on the finger piers and the condition of the boat launch.
"It's going to be an eye opener for the community," said Kudlicki. "We've had divers look at things but this will give us a great opportunity to look at it first hand. It's going to be kind of a neat deal."
Plans are already being made to make improvements to the boat launch area. Kudlicki said they know there are significant holes at the base made by boaters powering onto their trailers.
"Our plan there is to extend the concrete down further and to give a buffer so it doesn't wear," he said.
The marina isn't just home to boaters during the summer. It's also home to fish year round and nobody has forgotten about their well-being through all this. Large pumps will be used to drain the marina. The pumps are designed to allow fish to go through safely to the other side. When the water level inside gets down to about 15 to 20 percent, the fish will be physically removed and released into the bay.
Kudlicki said it's possible a camera will be hooked up to the MMG website so people can log in and watch the progress.