|Subscribe | What is RSS|
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) Superintendent Scott Tucker recently announced the issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Platte River Mouth Restoration and Access Plan/Environmental Assessment (EA). The National Park Service (NPS) has selected the Preferred Alternative (Alternative 2) presented in the EA.
The Platte River is located in the southern portion of the National Lakeshore and discharges into Lake Michigan. Benzie County owns and manages a recreational boat launch at Platte River Point, approximately 900 feet upstream from the river mouth, at the end of Lake Michigan Road. Dredging between the boat launch and river mouth has been performed regularly since 1968 by the NPS or the State of Michigan. Dredging has typically occurred after Labor Day, primarily at the sand bars at the river mouth. A large quantity of stockpiled dredge spoils (sand and gravel removed from the river) is located near the mouth of the river on the eastern side. Dredging of the river and continued deposition of spoils on the shore has caused negative environmental impacts.
Under the Selected Alternative, the NPS will no longer conduct dredging of the river. Existing dredge spoil piles along the river bank will be removed and the river banks restored to a more natural condition. Funding received through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will be used to begin developing the river/beach restoration plan.
Recreational access to Platte Bay will remain available via the existing boat ramp and Lake Michigan Road owned and maintained by Benzie County. Without dredging, ease of use for boaters will be more dependent upon current lake levels, the location of the river mouth, and the boating equipment involved. Boating on Lake Michigan has inherent risks, and all boaters must take proper precautions, including gauging their ability to successfully negotiate launch sites and shallow near-shore waters.
The EA, FONSI, and a summary of public comments received are available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/platte.