LANSING — State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) announced today that the state Department of Natural Resources has agreed to pay for the emergency dredging of Lake Superior’s Big Traverse Bay Harbor in Schoolcraft Township. Stamp sand has again nearly completely blocked the harbor and stopped boat traffic, potentially harming the region’s fishing industry. Stamp sand is crushed waste rock about the size of sand or silt that is left over from old mining operations.
“I am happy that the DNR is preparing to take bids on dredging so that we can get Big Traverse Bay Harbor cleared out and allow commercial fishing boats and recreational boats to access Lake Superior once again,” said Dianda. “Residents can’t afford to lose money on fishing or tourism, so dredging the harbor quickly is the best thing to do for the Keweenaw economy.”
Stamp sand is a continuing problem, and state officials and the Army Corps of Engineers are working on a long-term solution. In 2015, Big Traverse Bay Harbor was dredged, and 4,500 cubic yards of stamp sand was removed. This year, dredging will take out 9,000 cubic yards of stamp sand. The money to pay for the dredging operation will come from the DNR’s Waterways Fund. Once the sand is removed, it will be disposed of on a beach area adjacent to state forest land.
“My community’s economic health is tied to Lake Superior, so we can’t ignore it when stamp sand fills up the harbor,” said Dianda. “I encourage state officials to keep working with our federal partners to find a better solution so that we don’t have to keep dredging every couple of years. By taking good care of Lake Superior we set a positive example of how we should care for all of our Great Lakes, because they are important to local economies throughout Michigan.”