The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded a contract to dredge out shoal material from harbors in Lake Michigan. King Company Inc. of Holland will use a portion of its $657,500 contract to complete maintenance dredging at the Grand Haven and Holland harbors.
“It’s a little more limited (than last year),” Army Corps of Engineers Area Engineer Tom O’Bryan said. “We will be dredging from the pier heads lakeward.”
Last year, the Corps of Engineers worked on a dredging project that scooped out areas of the inner harbor, as well. O’Bryan said marine contractors won’t be doing any of that kind of work this year.
O’Bryan said dredging in Grand Haven and Holland should begin in early April and be completed by late May.
The King Company will dredge predominately sandy material from the harbors, placing it along the shoreline in Holland and near the shore in Grand Haven in what are called nourishment zones. O’Bryan said these zones are located several hundred feet offshore. Dredged sand is deposited there and eventually makes its way to the beach to replenish it.
According to Corps of Engineers officials, keeping the waters open in Grand Haven and Holland is essential for ongoing commerce.
“Grand Haven and Holland harbors are essential marine commerce avenues, and regular maintenance dredging keeps them effective and efficient,” said Lt. Col. Robert Ells, district engineer for the corps. “We are proud stewards of the Great Lakes Navigation System and of the economic benefit this system brings to the nation.”
Last year, the Corps of Engineers contracted with the King Company to perform $540,000 worth of dredging in the Grand Haven channel. The dredging company scooped 80,000 cubic yards of material out of the harbor. About 40,000 cubic yards came from an area from the entrance of the harbor at Lake Michigan and upstream, and another 40,000 yards came from an area from North Shore Marina to just past the Board of Light & Power plant on Harbor Island.