Algoma City Council members Monday will discuss the idea of dredging the Algoma Marina to counteract declining water levels.
Mayor Wayne Schmidt says the shallow waters have become a real problem at the marina.
Schmidt says the 56-slip marina -- which he says was last dredged two to three years ago -- is plagued not only by lower water levels but by a build-up of silt in certain areas. He says that's something the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking into.
"The silt is coming in and we're not quite sure where it's coming from," says Schmidt. "That's why the Corps of Engineers is doing this study. Once they do the study and find out exactly where it's coming from, then we're going to be faced with the issue of how do we solve the problem and what's the cost going to be."
Schmidt says the low water level and muck-build-up is not only affecting the marina but the channel that links the river and the marina.
Aldermen need to make a decision soon. Schmidt says Department of Natural Resources officials have told them they can't dredge from March 1 through the end of July because of fish spawning. So the mayor says the job would need to be done before March 1.
"It's a real problem for us because we have our seasonal boaters that are saying to us 'if you don't do anything with your marina we're not coming back next year,'" says Schmidt.
The other issue is how to pay for it. Schmidt says the city only has $60,000 in the dredging budget for 2013 and the project could cost several times that. That likely means borrowing. Schmidt says City Administrator Tom Reynolds is exploring financing options.