Archive: 2021
  • Corps of Engineers to begin St. Joseph emergency dredging in June

    DETROIT – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin St. Joseph Harbor emergency dredging early June, expediting the process to restore critical navigation. The Corps of Engineers identified a shoal restricting the channel depth during this year’s annual channel survey. In some areas the restriction was as little as 13 feet below low water datum, effectively closing the inner harbor to commercial navigation. “This is a true team effort,” said Detroit District Project Manager Alicia Smith. “We worked with Congressman Fred Upton’s office, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the City of St. Joseph and local sponsors to award this contract in an expedited manner to restore critical navigation.”
  • Army Corps of Engineers promotes boat, water safety this summer

    DETROIT- With warm weather approaching, many will spend summer in or around the water. As Great Lakes stewards, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reminds visitors and residents the importance of practicing safe, sensible and thoughtful activities. Great Lakes water levels are below last year’s record levels but will continue rising before peaking in the summer months. High water levels can increase dangers such as rip currents and waves, especially during periods of active weather. The Corps of Engineers urges caution around Great Lakes piers and breakwaters, particularly during times of high winds and waves. People of all ages should always practice boat and water safety. Before entering or being around the water, keep these items listed below in mind, they could save your life or the life of someone you care about.
  • Great Lakes water levels continue seasonal rise

    DETROIT- Great Lakes water levels are below last year’s record levels but will continue rising before peaking in the summer months. During the spring, water levels typically begin a seasonal rise due to increased precipitation and runoff. Drier conditions so far this spring limited seasonal rises on some lakes, however, there are still a few months left in the typical seasonal rise period. “Dry conditions have continued for most of the Great Lakes region, with the exception of the Lake Superior basin, which experienced above average precipitation in April,” said Detroit District Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office Chief John Allis. “These drier conditions have resulted in lake levels that are much lower than the record highs of recent years. However, some lakes are still above average and coastal flooding and erosion are still possible, especially during periods of active weather and increased wave action.”
  • Soo Locks Visitor Center reopens

    SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., – The Detroit District’s Soo Area Office is reopening the Soo Locks Visitor Center in Canal Park 9:00 a.m. May 9. The Detroit District is working diligently to safely open the Visitor Center while following federal and state COVID-19 guidelines. Exhibits are spaced to help visitors observe social distancing while learning more about the Soo Locks and hand sanitizer is available near popular hands-on exhibits. Building occupancy is currently limited to 90 people at a time and masks are required to enter. “We are glad to be able to open the Visitor Center again. Over the past year, we added some exciting new exhibits for visitors to enjoy,” Chief Park Ranger Michelle Briggs said. New exhibits include a Soo Locks virtual tour and a simulator allowing visitors to take the controls of a reproduction 1943 panel of the MacArthur Lock and complete a lockage.
  • 2021 Engineer’s Day being Re-Engineered

    SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City of Sault Ste. Marie are re-engineering the Soo Locks 2021 Engineer’s Day to protect vessel crew members and essential lock workers while complying with current federal and state COVID-19 guidelines. The City will host an event focusing on downtown city merchants, vendors, the Soo Locks and water safety. The City and the Sault Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) welcome the public and visitors to attend Engineer’s Day Re-Engineered 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, June 25. “The Soo Locks are so important to our history and our community, this annual event helps us celebrate that,” said Linda Hoath, director of the Sault Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It is a great time to expand the event beyond the Soo Locks complex.”
  • New Lock at the Soo 2021 construction begins

    SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., —The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New Lock at the Soo project is on schedule as construction resumes on phase one and is initiated on phase two this week. Trade West Construction, Inc., and joint venture Kokosing-Alberici began moving equipment to the site the week of April 12 and 19. Trade West continues phase one, deepening the upstream channel to the Sabin and Davis Locks, which will be replaced by the new lock. USACE officials expect phase one completion in November 2021. Kokosing-Alberici is starting phase two this year, rehabilitating the upstream approach walls. This will stabilize the existing approach walls allowing modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock. Phase two should be complete by fall 2023, with winter seasonal breaks.
  • Soo Locks open early for 2021 shipping season

    SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich., – The Detroit District’s Soo Area Office will open the Poe Lock noon, March 24, marking the 2021 Great Lakes shipping season start. The shipping industry requested an early season opening to ensure safety of the vessels. “We believe a 1200 EST opening on 24 March 2021 provides a safer timeframe for vessels to transit Whitefish Bay and the St. Mary’s River. It facilitates U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) icebreaking prior to and after the initial lock transits,” James Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers’ Association said. “The efficiency of icebreaking for the first transits is the primary driver for this request.”
  • Great Lakes water levels lower than 2020 heading into spring rise

    DETROIT- Great Lake water levels in 2021 are tracking below last year’s levels, though Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie remain well above long-term average levels, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials who track and forecast Great Lakes water levels. Lake Ontario recently fell slightly below long-term average levels. The February 2021 monthly mean water levels ranged from 7 to 23 inches below levels from this time last year. Since November 2020, the Great Lakes basin experienced four consecutive months of below average precipitation. This combined with a cold air outbreak during February led to increased evaporation across the lakes and caused a St. Clair River ice jam to develop. When ice jams occur, water levels downstream of the restriction decline, while water levels upstream of the restriction rise.
  • Corps of Engineers assisting US, Canada coast guards easing St Clair River flooding

    Using strategically placed water monitoring equipment and a field team, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing technical advice for St. Clair River U.S. and Canadian coast guard ice breaking operations. The technical advice helps identify areas to focus ice breaking efforts and Corps of Engineers Emergency Management is helping coordinate efforts across local, state, state and federal governments.
  • Corps of Engineers cleaning debris inadvertently placed on Minnesota Point

    DETROIT - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is coordinating cleanup of aluminum cans and can fragments inadvertently deposited on Minnesota Point during dredge material placement in the fall of 2020. USACE placed 49,000 cubic yards of beneficial use dredge material on Minnesota Point at the city’s request during annual Duluth-Superior Harbor maintenance dredging operations in August and September. In 2019, 53,000 cubic yards of dredge material was placed on the south end of Minnesota Point to minimize erosion due to high water and protect old growth trees. The city requested additional material in 2020 to help restore the eroded beach and dune habitat. The debris likely resulted from dredge equipment encountering an area containing trash discarded in the harbor in the 1970s based on aluminum can vintage. About 27,000 cubic yards of dredge material came from the area USACE officials believe contained the debris.