$103,000 secured for emergency channel dredging.

May 13, 2022

$103,000 secured for emergency channel dredging.

$30,000 provided by anonymous donor. 

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PENTWATER — The Village of Pentwater announced that $103,000 in funding — including $30,000 from an anonymous source — has been secured for emergency dredging of the Pentwater Channel.

The Village of Pentwater also chipped in $30,000, along with $23,000 from the Community Foundation of Oceana County fund and $20,000 from the Oceana County American Rescue Plan Act.

“We are currently in negotiations with contractors to get the dredging scheduled as soon as possible,” states a village announcement. “We would like to thank the Oceana County Board of Commissioners; the Oceana County Community Foundation and the contributors to the foundation funds; our anonymous donor; and all the citizens who helped push this through. We look forward to another great season on the water!”

The depth of the entrance to Pentwater Harbor from Lake Michigan is less than 6 feet in some areas, and when offshore winds cause swells that drop by 3 feet or more, many boats risk bottoming out, according to the Protect Pentwater Harbor Citizens Ad Hoc Committee.     

Emergency dredging at a cost of $100,000 is needed this spring to keep the port open, said Dave Bluhm, committee chair. Many boats would no longer have access between Lake Michigan and Pentwater Lake if the dredging did not happen.

“The channel/harbor is extremely important to the economic health of our community. It supports sport fishing and boating. It’s the entrance way for many tourists, shoppers and potential residents. A choked-off harbor doesn’t bode well for area property values.

“Increasingly turbulent weather on Lake Michigan churns up sand, and the water surge carries it into the channel. The wave attenuators slow down the surge and the sand drops to the bottom. That’s not a new problem. What’s changed is that the federal government will no longer pay to dredge recreational harbors when necessary,” states a press release.

“Many members of Congress see it as an unnecessary federal taxpayer cost,” added Bluhm. “Fiscal conservatives in Congress pretty much are saying ‘if you’ve got to dredge in your community, find a way to pay for it yourself.’ So we’ve all got to roll up our sleeves and figure out a way to do it.” 

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