Saugatuck City Officials Approve Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Sediment-Reduction Plan
It’s been a long time coming, but a course has now been set for Kalamazoo Harbor improvements and now it is time to implement those strategies, Saugatuck city officials said Monday.
“You are always going to perform maintenance dredging (on the Kalamazoo Harbor), but if you don’t stop the bleeding, so to speak, you are never going to get ahead, so this is what this plan is all about,” noted Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier.
The city manager was explaining to his city council about the Harbor Management Plan, which calls for a “layered approach” to effectively address long-term sedimentation management ( i.e., reducing sediment from upstream sources and identifying cost-effective locations for Confined Disposal Facilities (CDF).
The council approved the plan—completed by Edgewater Resources engineering firm on August 9—during its Monday night meeting.
It followed that action with the hiring of consultant Bill Boik, described by Harrier as the individual who will act as the driver and guide the city and the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority through the road map, responsible for implementing the “sediment reduction strategy.”
The plan and strategy have been reviewed and recommended for approval by the Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority.
“Our sediment strategy is very much the same as Douglas’ sediment strategy,” noted Harrier in anticipation Douglas officials will follow suit and adopt the plan as well as approve the hiring of Boik.
The Boik contract comes to $14,000 (paid out in monthly $1,200 installments) for one year of service, a cost to be equally shared by the two governmental units.
Along with implementing dredging and sediment reduction strategies, Boik, a long-time State of Michigan employee with the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division, will act as liaison between the Harbor Authority and the various state agencies, identify grant opportunities, and provide frequent progress reports to the local authority.
Last year, the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas hired Edgewater Resources to conduct the Harbor Management Plan project for a $37,500 price tag, equally shared between them.
The multi-approach road map calls for cooperative effort with local and regional communities to address sedimentation and adjacent runoff, specifically agricultural and urban sediment run-off; sediment traps along the Kalamazoo River, upstream of the Saugatuck/Douglas Harbor area; and ongoing maintenance dredging of the navigable harbor channels.
The cost of the last approach could be reduced by putting CDFs as close to Kalamazoo Lake as possible, including potential in-water CDFs and potential locations at Wade’s Bayou or other locations along the Douglas shoreline.
The current approach of maintenance dredging on an as-needed basis is described as a “reactive strategy that is not financially viable for taxpayers and riparian owners,” while channelization is deemed no viable as an option.
The plan says there are state and federal grants available to provide funding for these efforts.