Ottawa Co. commissioners oppose river dredging

Ottawa County
Grand River Ottawa County 040819_1554760619161.jpg.jpg

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Ottawa County is opposed to a proposal to dredge miles of the Grand River to make it passable for powerboats.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners voted 9-1 to approve a resolution listing several concerns about the Grand River Waterway project.

The resolution (PDF) doesn’t shut down the project, which needs state approval, but it does make the county’s opposition known.

The proposal is to dredge about 23 miles of the Grand River between the Fulton Street Bridge in Grand Rapids and the Bass River Recreation Area in Ottawa County, creating a 50-foot-wide, 7-foot-deep channel large enough to accommodate big boats. A study last year found the project would bring in millions to the local economy.

But opponents say it could damage the environment. The county’s resolution includes worries about water quality, the effect on wildlife and erosion. Opponents also wonder how other recreational activities would be impacted and say the waterway would be too expensive to police and maintain.

The resolution also suggests the state doesn’t have the right to dredge without consent from the county and riverfront property owners.

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