CHEBOYGAN – Representatives from the Town of Cheboygan have met with several other entities to try to find solutions to resolve the issues related to the Little Black River watershed.
Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner Cameron Cavitt recently addressed several watershed issues in his annual report to the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners. In 1960, the town of Cheboygan entered into an agreement with the federal government for the maintenance of dams, dikes and culverts in this watershed through the Department of Public Works. This includes dredging the mouth of the river.
“I had a meeting with the Tip of the Mitt organization regarding the Little Black River,” said Dan Sabolsky, director of the town of Cheboygan. “I think they are ready to help us develop the structure and finances of the county drainage commission.”
The entire watershed project covers 17,130 acres – approximately 26.8 miles – and covers parts of the townships of Inverness and Beaugrand, as well as the town of Cheboygan.
There is no funding or resources available in the county to make improvements to the Little Black River watershed. Also, with the agreement of 1960, it is up to the city to take care of ditches and dams, even outside the townships.
“Which is a huge financial burden,” Sabolsky said. “So that’s something we need to look at. We have a few county commissioners who are willing to work with us on this, so that we can sort out some of these issues as soon as possible.”
Sabolsky said one of the dams along the Little Black River watershed requires work of around $ 1 million.
The Point of Mitt Watershed Council will organize a meeting between Cheboygan County, the Town of Cheboygan and several other entities that could help advance the improvements. This meeting must be scheduled before the end of the calendar year.
Anna Sangster, the town’s community development assistant, had traveled to the river and watershed with Cavitt and several county commissioners, to walk along the river and see what was really going on there.
“She took pictures for me because I couldn’t attend,” Sabolsky said.
Concerns along the watershed include dams clogged with trees and debris, as well as invasive vegetation and the failure of some of the dam structures.
Also during his meeting with the Mitt Point Watershed Council, Sabolsky discussed the town’s fishing pier project.
The plans for the fishing wharf have been approved, the tender documents have been prepared and the project will be tendered in the near future. Bids will be due around mid-December, then Sabolsky will come back to council with his recommendation as to which contractor to award the bid.
“Now some of this work can be done in the winter and we can be lucky because we’re going to have people who are going to pour a lot of concrete right here for our wastewater treatment plant,” Sabolsky said. “So if they run the plant to make the concrete, mix that concrete, maybe we can get it across the river.”
The city is also proactive, requesting an extension of grant funding, as there are concerns about the project’s timeline, due to the delay in submitting the project to tenders.
Contact Features Writer Kortny Hahn at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @khahnCDT.