Low water levels along the Kalamazoo River in Douglas.
DOUGLAS, Mich. (WZZM) - Boating experts along the Lakeshore call low-water levels a disaster that's getting worse all the time.
R.J. Peterson, the owner of Tower Marina in Saugatuck, says low water levels are causing harbors to disappear in the Saugatuck-Douglas area. Now, Peterson is working with Gov. Snyder on finding a solution to the problem.
Along parts of the Kalamazoo River where boats used to set sail, now birds stand on dry land.
"Its been totally neglected," says Peterson.
Peterson says he spends $100,000 on dredging the harbor, but it's never enough.
"There was no one in the state of Michigan who felt the slightest responsibility for these harbors," says Peterson.
Peterson arranged for WZZM 13 to go on a boat with the dredge operator to see the problem first hand. On the river, a tugboat had been stranded for years and there were several large sandbars. Peterson says just a year ago small boats were docking, where one of the sandbars has now emerged.
Peterson, who's been appointed by Gov. Snyder to the Michigan Waterways Commission, is pushing for a state department in charge of maintaining the harbors.
"In a city when you have a snow storm there's a way of taking care of it, but here our disaster of low-water levels has exposed all the siltation and there's no way to take care of it," says Peterson.
Peterson eventually wants man-made islands built.
"It would require engineering and reconfiguration of the lake," says Peterson.
Peterson says that project would allow the silt to flow out into Lake Michigan.
Peterson will meet with the Michigan Waterways Commission on Friday. The cities of Saugatuck and Douglas have recently created a Harbor Authority. Saugatuck's city manager released a statement saying, " A dredging plan has been prepared and funding sources are currently being explored."