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      Low lake levels mean dredging needed more than ever

      In East Jordan, crews are working on removing sand from the bottom of the city's harbor.

      Dredging is underway in some of northern Michigan's waterways.

      In East Jordan today, crews are working on removing sand from the bottom of the city's harbor.

      This process is being completely paid for by a grant from the state. Earlier this year the State Waterways commission awarded the city $420,000 for hydraulic dredging.

      Officials say many of the areas waterways need dredging due to the record low water levels. This process will make it easier for larger boats to travel in and out of the harbor.

      The Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee approved a bill requiring the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to conduct an assessment of the state's public harbors every three years to determine the need for dredging and infrastructure improvements.

      The Senate also approved a bill that will restore the waterfront tax increment finance authority to provide local financing options for dredging. Another bill creates new low-interest loan programs for financing dredging projects at private marina facilities.

      In total, the Senate has approved nearly $21 million in state funding for emergency dredging of Michigan harbors. The funding includes more than $2.9 million for dredging in five local harbors.