Marina owner calls for historic fishing district, dredging

August 27, 2013

LUDINGTON – Business owner Jessica Karboske spoke to Ludington City Council Monday night requesting the city consider making the marinas of South Washington Avenue a historic bayou basin fishing district. Jessica and her husband, Ray, own Ray’s Auto-Marine on South Washington Avenue.

The bayou is located east of the Washington Avenue bridge. For many years sediment has been building at the bottom of the basin. Land owners have blamed much of the cause on a drain near Madison Avenue. The drain falls under the jurisdiction of the Mason County Drain Commission, however the drain commissioner, David Hasenbank, says the county is not responsible, City Manager John Shay told Council Monday during its regular meeting.

The sediment has meant more sand in the basin, causing navigation difficult. A dock, located on the southeast corner of the basin, owned by the city is key to dredging the basin and also to designating it historical, Jessica Karboske told MCP.

Shay said he has been in contact with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and it is willing to pay for 50 percent of engineering and construction cost to improve the boat ramp and dredge a channel from the boat ramp to the bridge. However, the DNR will not pay to dredge the entire basin, Shay said.

Shay said he has asked an engineer to provide estimates for two options: 1. to make improvements to the existing boat ramp and to dredge as much of the bayou as the DNR grant would allow; 2. to fix the boat launch and dredge the entire bayou.

Councilor Gary Castonia said he would like the property owners around the basin to offer up their fair share of the costs.

Mayor John Henderson said it is very apparent that partnering with the land owners is important, but the county should also contribute.

“That drain has substantially contributed over decades to the sediment sand… I’m not convinced that that drain is not a 95 percent contributor (to the sediment)… We need to continue to have a dialog with the drain commissioner.”

Henderson said when something from someone’s property contributes to damage to their neighbor’s property, there is responsibility on the part of the offending party.

“If everyone is participating, let’s try to figure out where everyone’s fair portion is. I don’t think the city should have to front the whole cost either.”

Jessica Karboske, during public comment, spoke about the city beginning a dialog to create a historical bayou basin fishing district.

“Dredging of the bayou basin brings the opportunity to return the historical charter boat commerce with the city of Ludington capturing an advantage with a new improved public access,” she said. “This opportunity will allow for the public and marina owners to understand what contamination issues need to be addressed that will continuously affect the entire harbor of Ludington until it is resolved.”

Jessica cited the city’s master plan that refers to that specific area as a “historic charter fishing area in the vicinity of the Washington Street bridge.”

She also said the property owners of that area are preparing a survey that finds out the public’s feeling about docking charter fishing boats at the city’s municipal marina.

“We expressed during the last marina board meeting for a public survey for input concerning the use of the municipal marina for charter boat commerce. The DNR has delayed its recommendation to the Waterways Commission to further allow charter boats, seasonal or transient, docking at the municipal marina.”

 

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