ROGERS CITY - Dredging in Rogers City's marina could begin in October, now that the city has received a permit from the state.
There's just one catch: before the city can seek bids for the project, it needs the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to fix a mistake, City Manager Mark Slown said. The city originally had included three locations for disposing the dredged-up sediment, one of which was an adjacent swimming beach. This idea was rejected, and the permit did not include an alternate disposal site.
"They disapproved the location by the beach because of the nature of the sediment found in the marina," he said. "The DEQ really deemed that none of it's really suitable to go on the beach."
Originally, Slown and other city staff had hoped some of the sandy material that has washed into the marina entrance over the years could be used at Lakeside Park's beach, he said. However, the sediment will be too mucky to use, and will be dumped on an inland spot near Lake Street. The city also would like to see a former landfill added as an alternate site.
Harbormaster Roger Wenzel said he expects to have the corrected permit by the end of the week. Once he does, the city can seek bids from dredging companies to remove about 8,000 cubic yards of sediment from the marina's bottom.
Boaters in Rogers City's marina can expect depths of eight feet in the channel, and seven to eight feet under most of the slips, Wenzel said. The plan is to dredge the channel and area around D dock to 10 feet.
Rogers City's marina was one of 58 around the state to receive a piece of $20.96 million budgeted by Gov. Rick Snyder in March for emergency dredging, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The city has received a zero-match, $227,000 grant to mitigate the effects of record-low Lake Huron water levels. Alpena and Harrisville's marinas both received grants as well. This will keep the marinas open to more boaters, especially those with deeper drafts.
While Rogers City appreciates the emergency funds, it's only enough to dredge about 40 percent of the marina, Slown said. He's hoping the city can use money other communities didn't need.
Originally, city and state officials hoped these various dredging projects could be done in time for the 2013 boating season. Slown called these hopes "pretty optimistic," especially considering the usual 90-day wait period for a dredging permit.
"That was going to put us into the middle of the boating season before that was done anyway, which is exactly what happened," he said. "It did take longer, and we didn't want to do dredging during the boating season, it would've been a disaster."
Great Lakes water levels have rebounded since their mid-winter slump, with Lakes Michigan and Huron averaging at 577.69 feet above chart datum in August, according to Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory data.