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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) Superintendent Scott Tucker announced today that the National Park Service (NPS) has permits in place to allow another year of dredging of the Platte River mouth for the fall salmon run. In order to facilitate easier access to Platte Bay for salmon anglers, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is prepared to resume dredging operations under those permits. The mouth of the river will be monitored and dredged as necessary after Labor Day through September during the annual coho salmon run. Lake Michigan has risen to water levels well above average and this alone will improve navigation through the channel. However, if it is impeded by sand buildup after storms or wave action, the mouth may be dredged.
The National Lakeshore has nearly concluded the planning process for the Platte River Mouth Restoration and Access Plan/Environmental Assessment, awaiting only the decision document from the NPS Midwest Regional Office. Dredging between the Lake Michigan Road boat launch and river mouth has been performed regularly since 1968 by the NPS or the State of Michigan to facilitate boat access to the bay during the annual salmon run. Dredging the river and deposition of spoils on the shore cause negative environmental impacts. The NPS is considering a range of alternatives to current management of the mouth of the Platte River to address these impacts while maintaining public access to Platte Bay. Background information has been posted on the NPS planning website at parkplanning.nps.gov/platte.
For more information, please contact National Lakeshore Deputy Superintendent Tom Ulrich at 231-326-4703 or Scott Heintzelman, MDNR Central Lake Michigan Management Unit Manager, Cadillac Customer Service Center, at 231-775-9727, ext. 6070.