The Army Corps of Engineers has notified Michigan’s Senator, Carl Levin, that following his urging, they will increase funding for Michigan dredging and maintenance work by $9 million. Locations that will get increased funding for projects are: Holland Harbor, St. Joseph Harbor, Manistee Harbor, Saginaw River, St. Mary’s River, and the Genesee County Wastewater Treatment Plant. The fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill provided $38,923,000 for Michigan navigational projects, including dredging and other work. This new funding will be added to the previously announced funds.
Dredging funding has become an increasingly important priority for Michigan’s port and harbor communities as federal funds have been shifted away in recent years from maintaining dredged channels. “This funding will help keep Michigan harbors open that were threatened with closure, supporting economic development and job creation,” Levin said. “I will continue to press for fairness and work to secure funding for additional dredging and maintenance needs, but today’s announcement is a good start.” While this funding increase is welcome, the backlog of dredging projects has grown large over recent years when Congress has failed to appropriate adequate funds to maintain existing infrastructure. This will not alone, unfortunately, satisfy the existing needs.