Natural Resources Trust Fund projects and dredging plan sent to governor

LANSING?Legislation sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher to provide funding for recommended Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects and an emergency plan to dredge Michigan harbors was sent to the governor on Thursday to be signed.

Booher said the bill will provide more than $2.3 million in funding for nine NRTF projects and more than $2.9 million for five dredging projects in the 35th Senate District.

“These trust fund projects and the emergency dredging plan are about helping to make Michigan a better place to live and ensuring access to our great natural wonders,” said Booher, R-Evart. “This measure will help improve outdoor recreational opportunities for families and tourists.”

Senate Bill 233 authorizes the trust fund to spend $23.3 million to support 22 acquisition projects and 54 development projects. The bill also approves nearly $21 million for emergency dredging projects by using $9.4 million in waterways funds and $11.5 million in state general funds.

“The viability of some Northern Michigan harbors and livelihoods of residents who depend on recreational access to our lakes is in jeopardy due to low water levels and federal inaction,” Booher said. “As the summer tourist season approaches, these communities need action. This plan uses state waterways and general fund dollars to take emergency action to dredge our harbors.

“I know the governor understands the urgent need for action to keep our harbors open, and I look forward to seeing him sign this important legislation as soon as possible.”

For dredging needs in the 35th Senate District, the legislation appropriates:
• $133,000 for the Veterans Memorial Marina in Arcadia Township;
• $2,240,000 for the Frankfort Municipal Marina;
• $420,000 for the Leland Township Harbor;
• $23,450 for the Manistee Municipal Marina; and
• $87,500 for the Marston Dame Marina in Northport.

SB 233 provides $300,000 toward more than $1.3 million in improvements to 16.84 miles of the Pere Marquette State Trail from Baldwin to Reed City, including surface enhancements, connector trails and benches along the route.

Other NRTF projects in the 35th Senate District funded by the measure include:
• $141,000 for a $207,500 renovation of Penny Park in Manistee County’s East Lake village, which features upgrading the boat launch and installing a playground;
• $97,300 toward a $149,900 development to Onekama Village Park in Manistee County, including a barrier-free ramp to the beach and beach nourishment; and
• $37,600 for a $56,600 campsite and restroom improvement at Rose Lake Park in Osceola County.

The bill also uses $1.79 million toward five land acquisitions in Clare, Leelanau, Mecosta and Wexford counties. Included in the land purchase projects are helping Morton Township in Mecosta County obtain 4.23 acres along the Little Muskegon River for a township park.