New Buffalo begins dredging process - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

New Buffalo begins dredging process

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The warm weather had boaters on the water for the first time Wednesday. They're anxious for another season, especially since the last few years have been challenging.

Earlier this year, Lake Michigan levels reached an all-time low. That's why Ryan Fellows, New Buffalo's assistant city manager says many on the lake have been looking for a solution. "We are harbor country. It's of monumental importance that we keep a navigable waterway that everyone can use and enjoy."

He says the combination of low levels and built-up muck could quickly lead to problems for boaters. "This area was dredged over ten years ago. It's been building up progressively since those last ten years. If we don't clean it out, it will get to where it can't be used."

Wednesday began the seven week process of dredging in the waterway leading to the New Buffalo harbor and Fellows says it was a long time coming. "It's very exciting to see the process get started. Obviously having the barge in place is a big part of getting it started. Once they begin getting it started in earnest it will be a good feeling."

In Benton Harbor, Wolf's Marine owner Warren Wolf says there's been talk about dredging sometime this season. And he says, it's about time. "The water levels have been slowly dropping. We've had several dry summers, dry years."

He says the whole community feels the negative impact of low levels. "It's an impact on us directly because we're in the boat business, but it impacts a lot of local businesses. People aren't coming up and using their boats-there's a lot of bars and restaurants that won't have the customers."

He says boating is a big part of the economy and he is relieved to know a solution is on it's way. "It will help, it's nice to know that they're taking it seriously."

Especially since the warmer weather is making people, like the Suoboda's, anxious to get on the water. "It was beautiful out there, we can't complain," says boater, Bob Suoboda.

"Been waiting and waiting all winter for this to come so here it is," says Rick Suoboda.

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