Costs of dredging affects local shipping
Written by WNDU TV   
Wednesday, 16 February 2005 07:02
A section of the St. Joseph River that connects to Lake Michigan will not be dredged this year due to lack of funding.?? That could have a big impact on those who rely on the inner harbor for business. The area that needs to be dredged is from the Lake Michigan shoreline to the Bicentennial Bridge. ?

Dredging is basically a way of cleaning up silt and sediment on the harbor floor, allowing ships to bring in large loads. ?

The Corps of Engineers is responsible for the area, but to dredge it would cost around $800,000 and that's money they just don't have. They typically dredge the inner harbor every three years, but haven?t dredged since 2001 after budget cutbacks. ?

The inner harbor will not be dredged this year, but the outer harbor will.

Dock owner Pete Berghoff said, ?I think it?s wrong to dredge just the outer. We need to dredge the inner harbor because it doesn't do any good to get it halfway to the dock. They can't get it all way to the dock to unload." ?

The decision to not dredge the inner harbor comes after cuts were made in federal funding.

John Burt of the Berrien County Planning Commission says, ?They've been cut back severely. I can only imagine because of security and the war in Iraq." ?

For now, business owners will just hope that the water level stays high and that the boats don't get stuck on their way to the ports.
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