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Posted 12/27/2011

Release no. 122711-01


Contact
Lynn Duerod
313-226-4680

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announces contract award for emergency dredging in St. Joseph Harbor.

MCM Marine, Inc. from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., was awarded a contract for $99,000 to dredge 6,000 cubic yards of material from St. Joseph Harbor in Michigan.

Dredging will begin as soon as possible at St. Joseph Harbor which ships or receives roughly half a million tons annually. Dredging at the harbor, located on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, will take two to three days weather dependant.

The Corps is providing emergency dredging to the outer harbor at St. Joseph Harbor to address significant shoaling that is preventing commercial vessels from entering the harbor. The authorized depth of the outer channel is 21 feet, but recent sounding data shows a shoaled area with less than 16 feet of available depth across the entire width of the Federal navigation channel.

An extreme storm event that occurred in the late September and early October timeframe resulted in the excessive shoaling. The combination of winds occasionally gusting as high as 60 mph, and a constant, long north-northwest surface wind for up to 200 miles, resulted in waves building to the 20- to 25-foot range on southern Lake Michigan, the highest recorded waves in that area since 1981.

The Corps plans to dredge a 200 foot-wide channel through the shoaled area. After the harbor is opened shippers and dock owners have indicated they will run ships through Jan. 15, the end of the shipping season, to make deliveries.

Possible consequences if they had not been able to get these vessels in include: a lack of road salt for winter snow and ice conditions; cement plants would not get their loads of cement needed for ongoing construction projects; and stone would have likely run out depending on demand.

For more details, contact Lynn Duerod, public affairs officer, 313-226-4680, or Mollie Mahoney, project manager, 313-226-2033.