LANSING – State Representative Charles Brunner (D-Bay City) and members of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Legislative Delegation are calling on Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy to rush an emergency dredging project on the Saginaw River turning basin. Due to the recent flooding, the basin is filled with silt and depth has been reduced from 20 feet to 12-13 feet. This problem is severely restricting shipping to businesses in the Saginaw area.

“The Saginaw River is an important shipping route for our area,” said Brunner. “Goods shipped on the river include coal that powers electric generators, cement and aggregate that is needed to complete the I-75 highway resurfacing project, and limestone, potash, grain and other raw materials to supply vital, regional businesses along the river.”

The Army Corps of Engineers has announced that it would need about $1.2 million to address the emergency dredging requirements, and coming up with this funding is not an easy thing to do. However, it may be possible for the corps to reallocate funds from other areas in the budget by dredging only the turning basin and canceling other areas.

“It is extremely urgent that the corps allocates funds to the Saginaw River Project as soon as possible,” Brunner said. “It is imperative that the Saginaw River navigation channel is restored to its required depths.”