Mexican ship docks in Carrollton

This week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers corps officials began a 60-day, $2 million project to cut into the Saginaw River’s bottom to remove the silt that threatens to strangle shipping in Saginaw County. The corps plans to remove at least 5 feet from the shallows of Saginaw’s only turning basin north of the Interstate 675 Henry G. Marsh Bridge and a mile-long stretch of the river channel downstream.

The basin now measures about 15 feet deep with patches as shallow as 13 feet. Contractors plan to deepen that channel to 20 feet. Dredging then will continue for a mile downstream, dropping the river bottom to 20 feet from 18 feet.

In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives recently approved $3.6 million for additional dredging in the Saginaw River. The request, which represents a 50 percent increase over last year, now goes before the Senate. Funding for the Saginaw River would go into effect in October, the start of the 2007 fiscal year.