A $1.2 million dredging project is expected to begin at Great Lakes Memorial Marina in October. Low water levels on the lake and bay have prompted the state of Michigan to provide emergency dredging funds for key cities, of which Menominee is one. EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
A $1.2 million dredging project is expected to begin at Great Lakes Memorial Marina in October. Low water levels on the lake and bay have prompted the state of Michigan to provide emergency dredging funds for key cities, of which Menominee is one. EagleHerald/Mike Desotell
MENOMINEE - Record low water level on Lake Michigan and Green Bay have created some hardships in port cities. Great Lakes Memorial Marina in Menominee is one of 49 areas the state of Michigan targeted in the Emergency Dredging Bill approved in March.

U.P. Engineers & Architects Inc. put together a plan for dredging the marina. Bids were then let with the lowest coming in at $1.9 million to dredge to the maximum level.

Since the state is picking up 100 percent of the cost, it has certain parameters that must be followed and since the amount of dredging in the bid exceeded what the state considered to be necessary to cover the emergency aspect, it will only pay $1.2 million, which would cover the removal of about 25,000 cubic yards of material, or dredging to an average depth of 8 feet. The channel coming into the marina would have a depth of 10 feet.

"They say that what that's doing is making that marina deeper than it was originally built at that would be rehabilitation or rebuilding of the marina and that the grant funds would not apply to that," explained City Manager Michael Cramer.

If the city or the Marina Management Group (MMG) wants the marina dug out deeper, the associated cost would have to be out of pocket.

Currently, some areas inside the marina are about 4 feet deep, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many boats to venture into certain areas. The two groups will discuss whether that would be necessary. The MMG has been setting aside funds to dredge the marina for several years and could use those funds if it so chose.

The current plan has already received approval from the contractor, the Department of Environmental Quality and the DNR.

According to Cramer, the company doing the dredging would put in temporary closures at the mouth and at the north side of the marina and then drain it. Well heads would be installed to reduce the groundwater level and all the water inside would be pumped outside into the bay.

"That actually gets us a much better dredge," said Cramer. "We're able to see all the material and see where the areas are and make sure we get everything we need to get down to that 570 level."

The 570 Cramer referred to is the depth above sea level. Considering the present water level, the dredging would create a depth of 8 feet in the marina.

An added bonus to draining the marina is that it will give engineers an opportunity to inspect the inner break walls for any potential damage.

The dredging will not begin until after the boating season in mid to late October and is expected to take about two months. Yet to be determined is the location for dumping the dredged spoils. The city has several options it's considering.

The council will vote on awarding the dredging contract during Monday's meeting.