City of New Buffalo Dismantles Municipal Marina Due to High Water

Your winter walk along the waterfront in Harbor Country might startle you when you find that the entire dock system at the City of New Buffalo’s Municipal Marina has been removed.

The city reports that due to historical high waters levels on Lake Michigan, they have taken action to remove the docks at the municipal marina to avoid them being damaged over the course of the winter season.

The docks could not be raised above the water level which left them exposed to potential damage from freezing waters during the winter.

New Buffalo Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV says, “The community made an investment in the marina that we felt needed to be protected and it was decided removing docks for the winter was the most prudent course of action.” O’Donnell adds, “This will also allow us to perform additional maintenance on the docks that would not have been possible if they remained in the water.”

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A team from Abonmarche, the City’s engineer-of-record and the King Co. of Holland, developed a plan to remove the docks and reinstall them for the 2020 boating season. During the winter months, the docks will be power-washed and repainted before they are reinstalled in the spring. When reinstalled the docks will be at an appropriate level in relation to the current and projected water levels.

The City of New Buffalo has long been a favorite destination of recreation boaters traveling along the Lake Michigan coast. Mayor O’Donnell says, “By taking this action with the docks, our marina will be better positioned to meet the expectations of boaters during the upcoming boating season,” and concludes, “For most of the last season our docks were at or underwater negatively impacting their availability. Next year boaters will be able to use and enjoy the marina as they were able to in previous years.”

Near record water levels on Lake Michigan have proven a challenge to communities up and down the coast for the past year. Numerous marinas had to disconnect power systems to docks when they ended up underwater, and many marina slips became unusable, while property owners along the coast had to armor their shoreline to protect homes. High water levels are expected to remain and be a challenge to coastal communities throughout 2020 as well.