WEST OLIVE, Mich. — A proposal that would dredge nearly 23 miles of the Grand River between Grand Rapids and the Bass River Inlet near Eastmanville is not moving forward, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
"After a review of the proposed Grand River Waterway project, and following input from a number of local communities and organizations, the DNR has decided not to pursue the project," Spokesperson Ed Golder said Tuesday.
The project received state funding last December during the legislature's lame duck session. Progress has stalled since many communities passed resolutions opposing dredging last spring.
Leaders of the Grand River Waterway Project (GRWW) put it on hold Monday, Nov. 26, citing to "inaction" by the DNR regarding soil sampling testing, according to a release.
“Regardless of how one might view the proposed project, it would be important to all to have that study completed and better understand whether or not the project could move forward or not," said Dan Hibma, the developer spearheading the project. "GRWW has reached out to the DNR but has received no response. We realize that we can’t move forward if the DNR does not move forward."
Dredging the river presents risk to both to the economy and the environment that are too high, Golder said.
"Dredging such a significant portion of the Grand River would disrupt fish habitat, natural vegetation and the general health of the river," he said. "These natural resources are too important to all West Michigan residents and visitors to allow the project to move forward."
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