DNR & DEQ To Hold Public Meeting On Dredging Windows To Protect Lake Michigan Sturgeon
The Michigan Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality have announced a public meeting Monday, April 20, in Saugatuck to present and discuss Kalamazoo Lake and River dredging windows that protect lake sturgeon – a state threatened species.
The meeting will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Saugatuck Township Hall, located at 3461 Blue Star Highway in Saugatuck.
Kalamazoo Lake is an important staging area for adult lake sturgeon migrating up the Kalamazoo River to spawn.
The lake also provides excellent habitat for juvenile lake sturgeon. The proposal would limit dredging between March 15 and June 30 to protect adult lake sturgeon and between Sept. 1 and Dec. 15 to protect juveniles.
“The goal of this program is to open the lines of communication among the community, business owners and contractors on ways to protect lake sturgeon and their habitat,” said Jay Wesley, DNR fisheries unit manager.
“This protection effort will dovetail nicely with our other Kalamazoo River lake sturgeon rehabilitation efforts, including spawning habitat restoration below Allegan Dam and the streamside rearing hatchery for sturgeon in New Richmond.”
The DNR and DEQ recognize the need to conduct dredging projects to provide safe boat navigation in the channel, harbor and marina areas.
These windows are meant to guide dredge operations on the best times to do so when lake sturgeon are less vulnerable.
If a dredging project needs to be completed within a no-dredging window, the DNR and DEQ will engage in a conversation with the dredge operation team to see if safeguards can be put in place and to determine whether the project is in a known lake sturgeon habitat area.
All are invited to attend this important meeting to learn more about dredging issues and windows and their impact on the local native fish species.