Congress expands Great Lakes projects, 14 projects planned for Michigan

By Qing Zhang
Capital News Service
LANSING — Everybody knows water flows, but not many people know that the sediment below it does too. That’s why harbors need dredging, or excavating the gradually accumulated material on the bottom and transporting it elsewhere. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District planned eight dredging projects in Michigan and Wisconsin for 2014 at a cost of $13.2 million. But Congress recently allocated an additional $17.8 million. That allows the district to include eight new projects and increase funding for four of the original projects.

Harbor dredging could stir up PCB-contaminated sediments

Capital News Service
LANSING – Dredging may be a solution to part of the Great Lakes low water problem, but it can also lead to contaminated sediments re-merging into the water, experts warn. A new law provides an additional $20.9 million for 58 emergency harbor dredging projects this year to help recreational and commercial boaters operate in low water levels. The most common contaminant in the bottom of the Great Lakes is polychlorinated biphenyls, also known as PCBs, according to the Department of Natural Resources. PCBs got into the water because of automotive industries near the lakes, said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the Great Lakes office of the National Wildlife Federation in Ann Arbor. “A lot of PCB-laced oil was used by the automobile industry before it was banned and “leaked into the ground and ultimately found its way into the Great Lakes,” he said.