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Environment & Climate Change

Lake Superior dredging project delayed until at least fall

buffalo_reef_photo.png
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
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Buffalo Reef off Gay

A dredging project in Grand Traverse Bay Harbor in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has been delayed due to permit and contracting issues.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says dredging expected to start this spring will be postponed until at least fall. It's part of efforts to save Buffalo Reef off Gay, northwest of Marquette.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided $3 million to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project. But permits and paperwork are being reworked over concerns including dredging natural sands versus so-called stamp sands from an underwater trough.

Stamp sands created in the early 1900s as a byproduct of copper processing at two mills threaten to cover the natural fish-spawning reef and beaches. The coarse black sands have drifted after being dumped into Lake Superior.