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Northport Marina: Emergency Dredging

May 26, 2014

Project: Emergency Marina Dredging
Challenge: A tight time schedule and adverse weather conditions. Extreme cold during a long winter.
Solution: Coordinate with village municipality and other government agencies; persevere through extreme cold and complete project as specified.

Owner: Village of Northport
Contract Amount: $570,000
Location: G. Marsten Dame Marina, Village of Northport
Date Started: February 2014
Date Completed: May 26, 2014
Self-Perfromed: 70%
Partners: Alcona Dredge LLC, Schiffer Group Inc., Roll Form Group Midwest

It was the spring 2013, after several years of mild winters and dry summers, that the Village of Northport applied for a grant to dredge the local G. Marsten Dame Marina. The area hadn’t been dredged since the early 1990s, and local officials were concerned that if the trend of dipping water levels continued for another two or three years, it would render the marina unusable. Without enough water depth around the marina slips, Northport residents would not be able to dock their boats at the G. Marsten Dame Marina—a threat made all the more dire by the fact that the village had just completed a $2 million renovation on the property in 2012.

Luckily, with the help of Jim Schiffer, an engineer with Traverse City’s Schiffer Group, the village was able to secure a grant through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to support the dredging project. And so, with the costs set to be paid by the Michigan Waterways Commission—thanks to a statewide $20.9 million emergency dredging bill—Schiffer and the village of Northport began accepting bid packages from companies that wanted the job.

Enter Team Elmer’s. We submitted a bid for the project and were graciously chosen by the Schiffer Group to execute the dredging plan. We quickly prepared for the project’s chosen November 2013 start date, facing time pressure due to the possibility that the state grant could evaporate if the project weren’t completed by the end of the year. Ultimately, though, delays pushed the commencement of the dredging work into February 2014, leaving Elmer’s to break ground (er…ice) on the project in the middle of the coldest Northern Michigan winter in recent memory. Temperatures dropped below zero for weeks at a time and -30 degree Fahrenheit wind chills were reported. To make matters even more difficult, we were on a tight schedule, aiming to complete the project by the end of May at the latest.

Ultimately, with the help of the village and oversight from numerous state and federal government agencies - including both the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - we were able to persevere through the bitter cold weather and move forward with the project. The process itself was straight forward. All told, we dredged and removed approximately 18,500 cubic yards of sediment from around the G. Marsten Dame Marina. A hydraulic dredging boat traveled the marina to remove sediment through a pipe system into a settling pond. The silt material was then excavated from the settling pond into haul trucks and transported to the Village of Northport property. Once stockpiled, the material was leveled on the site and left to dry further. As for the marina, water depths have been restored, not just by our dredging efforts, but also because of the levels of snow the area saw this winter.

Ice continued to float in off the bay well into the month of May, but thanks to a warming trend late in the month - Team Elmer’s was able to wrap up the project on Memorial Day itself, four days ahead of schedule. Now, thanks to Elmer’s, the Schiffer Group, and the Michigan Waterways Commission - with a little help from Mother Nature herself - Northport boaters won’t have to worry about their boats getting stuck in the silt at the marina anymore.

Click here to download a PDF project profile of "Emergency Marina Dredging"


 

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