Pentwater Community Working to Raise Money to Dredge Channel

Boating season is soon approaching but for some lakeshore communities, they may first have to dig themselves out.

As the water levels fluctuate on Lake Michigan, when they get too low, some port cities have to dredge their channels. That’s what is facing Pentwater. A citizen group is trying to raise $100,000 in a month to float into summer.Pentwater Channel Dresge Pkg 5 9 2200 00 45 05still001

Once the ice melted in Pentwater, the channel was measured for the summer season. Most of the channel was measured about six feet but with the wind and the waves bringing in more sand, some spots were more like three feet deep. 

A depth of 3-6 feet is fine for pontoon boats and smaller boats but sailboats have a keel underneath that can go 3-6 feet down, they are going to run aground. Even some larger motorboats will have three feet of displacement and any sort of bouncing up and down from the chop in the waves and that boat is grounding as it’s trying to make its way out to the big lake.

“It would do a lot of damage and so that’s obviously why we’re trying to address the problem,” said Ron Beeber, a member of Protect Pentwater Harbor.

The answer is to dredge, drag the bottom of the channel and remove feet of sediment. But recreational channels like Pentwater are on their own.  The federal government no longer covers the cost, they only paying for commercial channels like Manistee or Ludington.

“If you can somehow get one of those to come by Pentwater on their way to someplace else in the area, that would save us some of the cost that we would otherwise have to incur,” said Beeber.

They need $100,000. The Protect Pentwater Harbor group is collecting donations but also asking the village and township for help. The Village council meets Monday with the township meeting Wednesday.

“We’re hoping that they will appropriate some money out of their general funds for this emergency purpose,” said Beeber.

This will happen again as the lake levels shift so long term solutions are being sought. But for now, sailors are stuck until somebody digs in.

“The short-term, immediate need is to dredge,” said Beeber, “Like in the next month or so.”

For more information on the efforts to raise money or to donate, head to this link.