Posted: August 10, 2019

saugatuck dunes alternate marina design

A Practicable Alternative

The Army Corps of Engineers Federal Regulatory Protections are designed to protect Public Interest Factors

There is a better way to develop our very unique and treasured Kalamazoo River mouth neighborhood and historic Singapore. This local treasure is surrounded by publicly-funded natural areas. We commissioned a design that protects the globally-imperiled interdunal wetlands of the Patty Birkholz Natural Area, the historic cultural site of Singapore, water quality, and navigational safety, while also providing a healthy return on investment to the developer.

As part of a very thorough regulatory review the Army Corps of Engineers Section 106 Historic Properties Review calls for an examination of possible alternatives to avoid or minimize the adverse impact on historic properties. This year the Coastal Alliance moved forward in developing a practicable alternative to the marina design proposed by Jeff and Peg Padnos for Northshores by hiring FreshWater Engineering to identify alternatives to the current proposal.

We now have a preferred design that meets the following goals better than the proposed design:

  1. to protect the shared resources in Saugatuck’s Historic Kalamazoo River Mouth Neighborhood,
  2. to develop this very unique landscape surrounded by publicly-funded natural areas,
  3. to better protect the globally-imperiled interdunal wetlands of the Patty Birkholz Natural Area,
  4. to better protect the historic cultural site of Singapore,
  5. to better protect our water quality,
  6. to better protect navigational safety at the Kalamazoo river mouth, and
  7. to ensure survival of newly released juvenile sturgeon.
  8. In brief the alternative design:
  9. requires far less excavation saving the applicant money,
  10. better protects the wetlands,
  11. leaves critical dunes intact and removes only fill dirt added in the 1980’s.
  12. fully protects the historic site of Singapore,
  13. provides better maneuverability within the marina itself
  14.  provides better sight-lines for boats traveling down the river. (This ensures safer navigation.)
  15. and of course, the open design, as opposed to the dead-end canal design, is MUCH better for water quality, allowing the river to easily flow through the slips and avoids siltation.saugatuck alternate marina design
  • The practicable alternative employs a floating seawall, called a “wave attenuator.” Many municipalities use wave attenuators to protect moored boats, including Sturgeon Bay on the Great Lakes, New York, Norfolk, and Bellingham, Washington
  • The wave attenuator is 10’ wide and 8’ thick – so the river flows freely underneath.
  • The practicable alternative has space for 36 boats
  1. 2 X 80’ slips
  2. 5 X 60’ slips
  3. 6 X 50’ slips
  4. 23 X 40’ slips
  • This alternative provides a healthy return on investment to the developer.

And a question:

  • What are your thoughts on the plan? Does it better protect the resources that drive our local tourist-based economy?

A Practicable Alternative – David Swan Remarks →