U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI--   Construction on a new Soo lock has begun.

The Army Corps of Engineers says equipment was moved to the site a week ago and the upstream approach to the locks in the north canal will be deepened within the next month. This first phase of the project will facilitate the construction of a new, Poe-sized lock in place of the existing Sabin and Davis locks.

The work is expected to be completed by November 2021.

GAY, MI--   The Buffalo Reef Task Force is asking shoreline property owners along Grand Traverse Bay in the Keweenaw to report flooding and ice shove events.

Hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of copper tailings – known as stamp sands – were dumped onto the beach at an old copper milling site at Gay. Over the past 100 years wind and waves have moved the sands down the shoreline and to Buffalo Reef, a critical spawning area for Lake Superior whitefish and lake trout.

DETROIT, MI--   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District says January 2020 Great Lakes water levels were higher than a year ago and are expected to stay high into spring and summer.

Lakes Huron and Michigan both set new record high January levels, previously set in 1987. Lake Superior set a new record high first set in 1986. Michigan and Huron are expected to set new monthly mean record high levels over the next six months.

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI--   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded the first phase of construction on a new Soo lock to a Nevada company.

Trade West Construction will get $53 million for the first phase of construction, which involves deepening the upstream approach channel to 30 feet. The project will begin this spring and take about two years to finish.

Phases two and three of the lock project are still in the design phase. They include rehabilitation of the upstream approach walls and construction of the new lock chamber.

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI--   The Soo Locks are closed to navigation until March 25. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will use this time to perform critical maintenance on the lock structures. The Poe Lock will be dewatered while repairs are made. It will also undergo a formal periodic inspection. The MacArthur lock has repairs partially completed to the gate operating machinery. Additional work taking place includes inspection of gate anchorages, electronics updates and operating shelter maintenance.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP)--   A new forecast says Great Lakes levels are likely to remain unusually high and may set additional records.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Detroit on Monday released its outlook for the next six months.

Hydrologist Keith Kompoltowicz says a wet October interrupted the usual fall drop-off of water levels.

Storms over Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior caused beach erosion, flooding and damage to seawalls and roads.

DETROIT, MI--   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says high water levels on the Great Lakes will continue into this fall. 

Preliminary data indicates Lake Superior tied its record high in August. Lake Erie established a new record high. Lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario were slightly below their record highs, but still very high compared to average.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI--   The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it's preparing to decide whether to let Canadian oil transport company Enbridge install supports for its underwater oil pipeline in Michigan's Straits of Mackinac. 

Enbridge disclosed Wednesday that erosion had opened a gap beneath one of two Line 5 pipelines in the channel linking Lakes Huron and Michigan. The gap is about 6 feet wider than allowed under a state easement.

The company says the pipe's integrity isn't threatened. But it wants to install more than 50 screw anchors for greater stability.

MARQUETTE, MI--   High water levels on the Great Lakes are making breakwaters and other such structures more dangerous.

David Wright is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He says breakwaters were designed as navigation aids—not for public access—and have tripping hazards.

“That risk is further heightened due to high water levels. You’re more inclined to see over-topping waves, you’re going to see more often wet surfaces that can be slippery on some of the structures,” he says.

Wright adds wave action can also make it dangerous for swimmers.

ANN ARBOR, MI (AP)--   U.S. states and Canadian provinces have endorsed a plan to build up defenses on an Illinois waterway in hopes of keeping invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes. 

A resolution issued Wednesday by the region's eight governors and two premiers supports a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blueprint for blocking the carps' path at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet, Illinois.