Shallow water to reroute boat traffic in Pigeon Lake channel

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PORT SHELDON TWP. — Boats will need to take some extra precautions moving through the Pigeon Lake channel this holiday weekend.

Shallow water means most traffic will have to pass through the south side of the channel. 

Mike Sabatino, the Port Sheldon Township supervisor, told WOOD TV-8 a plan is being proposed by Consumers Energy to have the area dredged.

“It’s unique in that it’s not managed by the Corps of Engineers,” Sabatino said.

Consumers Energy uses the intake from the water for its nearby power plant.

“I’ve been told it was dredged about every five years or so just because the sand that fills in partially because just the natural erosion on the dunes and water being carried in bringing sand with it,” Sabatino said.

The utility and the township are advising boaters to take precautions throughout the boating season.

“There’s about a 45-foot-wide area … hugging the south pier, that is about six to seven feet deep across that sand bar. It’s about two feet and it varies,” Sabatino said.

Signs are in place at the boat launch and the pier, but boaters like Randy Labell would like the route more clearly marked. He is visiting the area and ran his boat into the sand.

“There’s no buoys out there to tell you to move over or anything like that,” Labell said. “My motor bogged right down, propellers hitting the sand throwing sand out and I was lucky I was in deep enough water I can get over.”

Labell has advice for people planning to use the channel over the holiday weekend.

“Follow the boat in front of you, or wait for a boat, if you’re not used to this channel,” Labell said.  

Consumers Energy said it is hoping to start dredging in the fall and is awaiting approval from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

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