Little Lake Harbor identified for dredging

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, says Little Lake Harbor north of Newberry has a need for dredging. This is due to heavy shoaling and shoreline flooding. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District)

SAULT STE. MARIE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, has identified Little Lake Harbor, located north of Newberry, as a critical need for dredging due to significant shoaling and shoreline flooding.

“Little Lake Harbor is a shallow draft harbor that serves as an important harbor of refuge and supports Tribal fishing,” LeighAnn Ryckeghem, Sault Ste. Marie Project Office operations manager, said in a news release. “Due to severe shoaling, the harbor has not been functional in some time. The Corps of Engineers issued a notice to navigation interests in August of 2021 to use extreme caution when attempting use.”

The harbor conditions on Lake Superior are surveyed annually and the harbor requires annual maintenance dredging. The harbor was last dredged in 2018 with approximately 53,000 cubic yards of material removed. The Detroit District has identified the funding need for both maintenance dredging and structure maintenance at Little Lake Harbor since 2020. However, needs for maintenance of navigation projects throughout the country outpace available funds.

Outflow from Little Lake is currently blocked by an accumulation of material in the federal channel. This is being assessed and likely a contributing factor of the recent shoreline flooding.

“We were notified of the shoreline flooding on May 22 and we had a survey crew from the Sault Ste. Marie Project Office onsite to survey and inspect the harbor on May 24,” Ryckeghem said. “The survey confirmed severe shoaling conditions have impeded outflow from the harbor to Lake Superior.”

Detroit District Chief of Operations Marie Strum said in a news release, “We were able to reprogram a small amount of funds on June 6 that allowed our team to get out there on June 7 to open up the outflow blockage and relieve the water level buildup. We have requested emergency funding to follow up with a dredging contract to clear accumulated sediment from a larger portion of the federal navigation channel, which would allow safe navigation into and out of the harbor.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, maintains a navigation system, including 81 harbors and channels joining lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie.


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