NEW BUFFALO — The New Buffalo Shoreline Alliance (NBSA) released the following information on April 25 regarding the “two parallel paths, a short term solution and a long term solution” it is working on to alleviate the effects of erosion along the local Lake Michigan shore:
The short-term solution is to obtain some sand on our beaches now and the long term solution is to construct off shore break waters that will protect the coastline and build beaches. You will see part of that short-term solution in a few weeks when dredging of the New Buffalo Harbor Channel is done by the United States Army Corps of Engineers This will be the first time in over eight years that the Corps has paid for dredging in New Buffalo. Previous dredging of the harbor have been paid locally. That dredging material will be placed on the beaches South of the New Buffalo Harbor.”
Also Part of the short term solution is to have the Corps perform a Section 216 study. Under this study the Corps would pursue funding for an initial assessment to review the New Buffalo Harbor to determine if due to significantly changed physical or economic conditions, that it would be advisable to modify the structure or operation and to improve the quality of the environment in the overall public interest.
The New Buffalo City Council voted to submit a letter of intent to seek funds to do an initial assessment under the Operation and Maintenance funds in the Corps 2020 work plan. U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, testified at the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development appropriations hearing and expressed his strong support for funding for the Army Corps of Engineers Navigation and Operation activities, which — in particular — provide funding for Section 216 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1970. The New Buffalo Harbor is a project that is eligible to compete for Section 216 funding.
“In New Buffalo, we have had severe erosion that damaged private property and could potentially threaten the water supply as the pump house is also in the area being eroded,” Upton said. “Obviously, in order for the New Buffalo Harbor to compete for Section 216 funding, we have to have adequate resources there. I would urge the Subcommittee to continue to work in a bipartisan fashion on this issue.”
Also under our long-term plan, we will be pursuing a Section 14 and a Section 111 study. Section 14 calls for a study to develop and construct a shoreline protection project to protect public infrastructure, such as water and sewer. The federal cap per project is $5 million.
A Section 111 study calls for the Corps to develop and construct projects for the purpose of mitigation of shoreline erosion or other problems directly influenced by the construction of a Federal navigation project. Each project is limited to $10 million. The first appraisal is 100-percent federal funds and the feasibility study is 50/50.
The NBSA was invited to participate in a roundtable with local leaders and community members with Lt Gov. Gilchrist and his team, three City Council members, Lou O’Donnell, Michelle Heit, Ezra Scott, the City manager and Ted Grzywacz, President of the NBSA, were present on April 22nd along with other business owners and members of the community. During the Q&A Michelle Heit, Ezra Scott and Ted Grzywacz were able to center the discussion on the erosion issues and the potential water problem for the City, Township and Casino. After the meeting, the Lt. Governor proceeded to the pump house for a firsthand look at our problem. They spent about 45 minutes onsite answering many questions that he asked. He assured us that this would become a topic in Lansing.