Detroit Engineer District set to begin dredging operations in Saugatuck

Written by Alex Marcheschi
Saugutuck deedging

Sand is placed on the beach in Saugatuck, Michigan during dredging operations in this 2019 file image. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District will begin maintenance dredging Saugatuck Harbor next week to improve the federal channel. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, will begin dredging 68,000 cubic yards of sediment from Saugatuck Harbor, Mich., next week to ensure safe navigation between Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River.

The King Company, Holland, Mich., has been awarded $341,000 to complete the work under a $1.4 million contract that will see it first complete dredging in Muskegon.

The channel entrance will be dredged to 16 feet below low water datum. Sand will be placed along the shore for about a mile from the Saugatuck South Pier southward through Oval Beach.  

“This project is a great example of using a maintenance dredging as a vehicle to combat erosion and provide multiple positive outcomes for the community in Saugatuck,” said Liz Newell Wilkinson, operations manager at the Grand Haven Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. “We have worked with the state of Michigan to ensure this sediment is environmentally safe to nourish the Lake Michigan shoreline.” 

Nationally, the Corps of Engineers is striving to use 70% of its dredged material beneficially by 2030. The focus is on finding locations needing wetland enhancement, brownfield reconstruction and beach nourishment.  

In 2023, the Corps of Engineers estimated about 30-35% of dredging material already is used beneficially. Another 10-15% requires special handling. 

Saugatuck Harbor and Kalamazoo River were last dredged in 2019 and historically maintenance dredged on a three to four-year cycle. The public is asked to avoid the areas where active dredging and placement are being conducted, as well as following all signs and cones placed at worksites for their safety. 

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