Lake Michigan to Mona Lake Channel
April 2014, Great Lakes Dock & Materials removed concrete rubble, slab wood, tires and logs from the channel.
May 23, 2013, Dan Hoe Excavating dredged sand from the entire length of the channel from the Lake Harbor bridge to Lake Michigan. Jackson-Merkey Construction extended the rock jetty arms to a length of twenty feet from the steel walls.
In May of 2012, we cleaned out trash, deadheads and old pier posts. In October we removed residual construction debris in the channel beneath the Lake Harbor road bridge.
Lake channels in West Michigan have historically gone through cycles of alternating blockage and clearing. Wind and water cause sand to build up along the shore. Watersheds drain toward Lake Michigan but can become blocked by the build up of sand. Inland water levels will then rise until the water cuts through. As soon as flow starts, the channel clears itself and continues to flow until another storm creates a blockage. Early settlers fought constant battles and would dig channels by hand when ships were expected. Gradually, most of the lake channels have been protected by permanent structures to prevent build-up and support periodic dredging.
In 1982, the MLIA funded construction of the present steel, protective walls in the channel. Additional rip-rap was installed several years later. The MLIA also funds routine dredging to maintain passable water levels in the channel. In some years, low water levels create a situation where it is not viable to conduct simple maintenance dredging. The channel arms do not extend into the lake at low levels and beach sand fills the mouth of the channel. Also, regardless of water levels, the exit from the channel places boats in the surf zone and waves can force them sideways. The long term solution is to extend the channel walls further. In 2001, the MLIA applied for a permit to extend the channel walls but the Army Corps of Engineers denied the application. Contributing factors included concern for shore erosion and the fact that MLIA is not the owner of the property. Nonetheless, MLIA feels that these objections may be overcome, and is continuing to explore possibities for channel extension. The Westshore Consulting Feasibility Study to improve the entrance to the channel can be accessed by clicking the link below. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat software.