Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority Taking Steps To Deal With Seaweed Patch
The Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority and the City of Saugatuck say they will be taking measures to prevent a wetland from growing in the Kalamazoo Harbor.
The silvery patch at the center of the harbor is caused by seaweed growing below the water surface, Saugatuck Mayor Pro Tem Ken Trester announced during his report at Monday night’s council meeting.
Although water levels in all the Great Lakes have been above average the last couple of years which also has an impact on those rivers connecting to them, the Kalamazoo Harbor has been plagued by siltation traveling downriver for decades.
“We don’t want to end up with a wetland,” said Trester, who is also the chair of the harbor authority. “We’ve (the authority) asked Kirk Harrier (Saugatuck City Manager) to contract someone to get that weed harvested to keep it from growing over the lake.”
He said weed harvesting is far from unusual, something that all marinas do. Trester noted his experience with marinas in Lake Erie where the procedure was conducted two or three times a year for a minimal cost.
The Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority was established in 2011 to come up with strategies and funding to tackle the continual deposit of sedimentation filling the river, deemed the economic engine of the community.
For now, Saugatuck and Douglas are the only two members of the Tri-Community with voting and full-fledged membership status with the authority.
Saugatuck Township, however, is still evaluating whether it does or doesn’t want to join, citing budget restraints and questions raised from some constituents over the benefits of doing so.
In other Kalamazoo Harbor news, Trester reported that the authority and City of Douglas’ efforts to pursue a grant to create water trails “is looking positive.”
The grant, facilitated with the help of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) and other conservationist organizations, may well include funding for a kayak launch in a Saugatuck city park, said Trester.
The designated navigable waterways are intended for non-motorized uses, (e.g., kayaks and canoes.)
The project will aim for inter-connectivity, via the Kalamazoo River, of Saugatuck, Douglas, Saugatuck Township and Manlius Township.
The grant will also offer opportunities to install water trail signage.
“There will be an app for smartphones to understand where you are on the trail,” said Trester.