Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 4, 2013

Michigan in Brief: 07/04/2013

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Tug sinks in river, is later refloated

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has refloated one of its tug boats that sank while being towed in the upper St. Marys River.

No one was aboard the Hammond Bay, which went down in the waterway between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Canada. Another tug was towing the Hammond Bay and three barges from Duluth, Minn., to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., at the time.

Army Corps spokeswoman Lynn Rose said the agency sent three vessels to the scene. She said they raised the tug to the surface and refloated it Wednesday afternoon.

Bill would fund more harbor dredging

DETROIT — The federal government would spend $47 million for dredging and other harbor maintenance in Michigan under a bill awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate.

The Appropriations Committee approved the measure last week and sent it to the floor. It would spend $8 million more for Michigan navigation projects than last year.

It’s part of an energy and water package that Sen. Carl Levin says reflects a commitment to reducing a dredging backlog in the Great Lakes region, where low water is causing navigation problems for cargo ships and recreational boats.

Gov. signs wetlands, wine sales measures

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder has signed legislation designed to fix problems with Michigan’s wetland policies.

Michigan is one of only two states to manage wetlands such as swamps, marshes and bogs. Supporters of the bill signed Tuesday say it will make the permitting process simpler and easier for developers and landowners, while environmentalists say it further loosens state rules rather than just addressing issues raised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wetlands are critical because they recharge ground water and support diverse ecological populations.

Snyder says he’s committed to keeping the state wetlands program.

He also signed bills letting small wine makers buy a permit to hold tastings and sell wine at farmers markets. Another new law lets merchants fill and sell growlers of beer for off-premises consumption.

Project will help fish stay cool in Manistee

WELLSTON — Consumers Energy says a $500,000 project to help fish stay cooler on the Manistee River this summer could benefit species including brown trout and Chinook salmon.

The unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. says it installed an upwelling system last year in the reservoir behind Tippy Dam to benefit downstream fish that thrive in cold water.

The system allows dam operators to essentially lift deeper, colder water into the plant’s intake area to provide cooler flows downstream.

The dam is in Manistee County, near Wellston.