Case at present is speeding up the process for marinas to make changes, like floating docks, to compensate for the historically low water levels we are experiencing.
And we don’t have much time.
The boating season is fast approaching and many docks at area marinas are much higher above the water than when boats were taken out last fall.
Many marinas will be lowering their docks to 4 feet or so off the water.
Some, like Randy Styburski, general manager of Barrett Boat Works in Spring Lake, would like to solve the problem with more floating docks. Floating docks are a platform or ramp supported by pontoons, and usually held in place by vertical poles.
Lowering the docks is not a cure-all like floating docks.
Standing in the way of floating docks is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Styburski said they've been working for seven years to get the permit from the corps.
“We can’t seem to get their approval,” he said.
This is totally ridiculous. It’s time for the Corps of Engineers to get together with marina owners and work something out.
And it looks like no immediate relief is in sight for the low-water problems.
Water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron edged up in February from the previous month's record lows. But they and other Great Lakes will remain far below average in the months ahead — and that means continued, significant impacts to commercial shipping and recreational boating, a Corps of Engineers forecaster said recently.
Some wet weather and freeze-thaw cycles that created runoff helped water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron rise 2 inches in February, to 576.2 feet, said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit District. But that's still a foot lower than historical averages, he added.
All of the Great Lakes remain below their long-term average, and all are forecast to remain that way at least over the next six months, Kompoltowicz said.
It’s time for the Corps of Engineers and marina owners to join forces and make area docks more accommodating.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.