1.5 million targeted to repair harbor
By John Pepin
The Mining Journal
Journal Munising Bureau
Published November 9, 2005
GRAND MARAIS - More than $5.7 million in federal funding
was approved Tuesday for an extensive list of northern
Michigan projects, including $1.5 million for Grand Marais
Harbor breakwater replacement..
Under the fiscal year 2006 Energy and Water Appropriations
bill voted on Tuesday by the House of Representatives,
the Grand Marais Harbor will receive more than $1.5 million
toward a $6 million breakwater replacement project.
The final version of the bill voted on Tuesday was reported
from a conference committee made up of both House and
Senate members. The bill will now go to President Bush
for his signature.
The money for the harbor project was the largest local
allocation from the funding package. A battle to save
the harbor from ruin has been ongoing for decades.
"(The) $1.543 million is indeed a significant first
step, particularly with competing pressure on government
funding for (Hurricane) Katrina, homeland security and
the war," said Burt Township Supervisor Lee Durrwachter.
"I was told it would never happen. 'Don't expect
it.' But this time it felt different," he said. "A
lot of hard work went into this effort with a lot of different
people contributing as a chorus of one: Save Our Harbor
Activists and local government officials in Grand Marais
have already begun efforts to find additional funding
sources for the remaining money needed. Replacing the
breakwater will block sand infiltration into the once-deep-water
A deep harbor at Grand Marais will allow the port to
remain a recreational venue and harbor of refuge for small
and large boats, while possibly attracting Great Lakes
Other local projects funded in the bill include $140,000
for Marquette shoreline protection, $200,000 for the city
of Negaunee's wastewater treatment plant, $500,000 for
fuel cell research at Michigan Technological University
in Houghton, $250,000 for St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba
and $1.5 million for a lock replacement project at the
Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie.
U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) worked with conferees
to secure the funding for the Michigan projects.
"I'm pleased to see so many of the important projects
in northern Michigan were funded in the final Energy and
Water appropriations bill," Stupak said. "These
projects are vital to the safety and economy of the local
community. Without funding for projects such as harbor
maintenance, breakwater protections and the upkeep of
our critically needed Soo Locks, these rural communities
could face floods, watercraft wrecks and the inability
to ship products."
Additional projects funded under the bill include $400,000
for Menominee Harbor maintenance and dredging, $333,000
for Keweenaw Waterway maintenance, $300,000 for Ontonagon
Harbor maintenance $184,000 for Ontonagon Harbor channel
extension and $50,000 for the east breakwater on Mackinac
The bill also included money for three downstate projects
and more regional efforts including $2 million for surveillance
of the Northern Boundary waters and $1.3 million for Great
Lakes navigation system study investigations.