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The Grand River?! You mean GR has a River?

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Piggy-backing on what @Raildudes dad said, the fact that the Saginaw is shorter (also wider and straighter) is exactly why it's easy to make a channel out of.  The Grand is estimated to be about 3-4 feet deep past Bass River, and it winds.  You'd have to engineer the sh*t out of the Grand to make it a commercially viable corridor - it just wasn't meant for that.

To speak to the other examples @GR8scott mentioned:

Stockton is actually a deep water port.  You can fit ships with 30-foot drafts all the way up the San Joaquin Delta (it's naturally that deep), and it's not a very long channel that has to be dredged going into Stockton.  This is not comparable to the Grand River.

On the other hand, the Arkansas River Waterway that goes into Tulsa is a smaller channel, and building that was a major feat of engineering - they had to dam it up and build locks to widen and deepen the river, creating lakes... Do you really want that for the Grand?  Sure, West Michigan COULD lobby for a project like that - but who needs it exactly?  Tulsa is a major hub for the oil and gas industries; connecting that city to the Gulf of Mexico was a priority for those interests, so they lobbied Washington hard in the '60s to make it happen.  I can only imagine what cost millions back then would probably cost billons now.

But even if West Michigan were to need more commercial port facilities, it would make no sense in the 21st Century to build them up river, when nowadays we could build an artificial harbor on Lake Michigan.  As massively expensive as that would be, it'd still be more cost-effective than making a shipping channel out of the Grand.  If a ship moors outside, say, Port Sheldon, you could load the cargo onto a truck and GR is only 30 minutes away.  It would take 9 hours (or more if there are locks) to send that cargo up the river to GR, doing 5 knots max.  Ironically, it would probably make fishing in the river better, since recreational boats would be the only ones using it.

This is why the UK is building up the London Gateway Port at the mouth of the Thames, and less so inland.  It's why cargo bound for Seoul goes to Incheon, Kuala Lumpur cargo goes to Klang, and Shanghai cargo stays outside the Yangzte.  We'll never have the tonnage of those places obviously, but I'm just saying, they're moving their shipping away from inland rivers, because the technological advances of our times have made deeper water more easily accessible.  And now, thus endeth the rant.  Sorry ;)

Edited by RegalTDP
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1 hour ago, RegalTDP said:

This is why the UK is building up the London Gateway Port at the mouth of the Thames, and less so inland.  It's why cargo bound for Seoul goes to Incheon, Kuala Lumpur cargo goes to Klang, and Shanghai cargo stays outside the Yangzte.  We'll never have the tonnage of those places obviously, but I'm just saying, they're moving their shipping away from inland rivers, because the technological advances of our times have made deeper water more easily accessible.  And now, thus endeth the rant.  Sorry ;)

Straying off topic, but one of the craziest things I ever saw was a "small" British aircraft carrier turning around in the Thames; from the 34th story of a skyscraper in Canary Wharf. From what I was told, bigger ships could make it up to a certain point before having to dock or turn around. 

From what you said, it sounds like it would get more absurd the deeper they dredge.

Joe

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4 hours ago, RegalTDP said:

But even if West Michigan were to need more commercial port facilities, it would make no sense in the 21st Century to build them up river, when nowadays we could build an artificial harbor on Lake Michigan.  As massively expensive as that would be, it'd still be more cost-effective than making a shipping channel out of the Grand.  If a ship moors outside, say, Port Sheldon, you could load the cargo onto a truck and GR is only 30 minutes away.  It would take 9 hours (or more if there are locks) to send that cargo up the river to GR, doing 5 knots max.  Ironically, it would probably make fishing in the river better, since recreational boats would be the only ones using it.

We have the harbor already. It's called Muskegon Lake. The former Cobb plant is being developed into a deep water port / dock.

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Only brought those cities up because we don’t have any natural barriers, no waterfalls and much of inland river traffic is barges that don’t need to be deep or wide. Just a thought but there’s a few miles of industrial land that backs up the grand in GR and Wyoming and minimal roadblocks to utililize comparatively 

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8 hours ago, GR8scott said:

Only brought those cities up because we don’t have any natural barriers, no waterfalls and much of inland river traffic is barges that don’t need to be deep or wide. Just a thought but there’s a few miles of industrial land that backs up the grand in GR and Wyoming and minimal roadblocks to utililize comparatively 

That would be a bit challenging with how the Grand River naturally floods every Spring. You'd have to build some massive breakwalls and flood barriers that would then make flooding downstream ever worse than it is now. 

Being recreational boaters ourselves, I can tell you that Hibma is way overestimating how many people would use this dredged channel. It's way too long. If you go to any boating epicenter in Michigan in the Summer, you'll see that 90% of the boats have big groups of adults and kids/teenagers on them. My kids would be bored out of their gourds boating this far up the Grand River. They'd do it once and never want to again. :)  You certainly wouldn't be able to water ski or wakeboard in a 50' wide channel, not with other traffic, or stop and swim in hot weather. 

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18 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

We have the harbor already. It's called Muskegon Lake. The former Cobb plant is being developed into a deep water port / dock.

That's great - so if GR continues to grow, and shipping directly into West MI grows as a result, Muskegon will grow too.  Eventually we'll no longer have to count them as a separate MSA :)

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9 minutes ago, wingbert said:

Do you mean the irony of no longer viewing the river as a big sewer and instead considering the myriad recreational and economic possibilities it presents throughout its various courses?

All the factory owners and sawmills back in the early 1900's also saw $$ in the river and dammed it up, dredged it, channelled it, exploited it, and polluted it. I think that's what RDD was getting at. 

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My point is the rapids project is removing all the man made dams, flood walls etc and trying to return the river to what it was like before the white man arrived to settle here and industrialize.  The dredging project takes a river that's  pretty much the way it was before the white man arrived and dredges a 50 foot wide channel in it for 20+ miles.  If you look into the history of the river, before the highway systems, the river was channelized so shallow draft steamboats could get to guess what, "the rapids" at Fulton St :). I can't find where I read it but they installed wood pilings to create the channel. Supposedly remnants can be seen at low water and the channel is long filled in naturally. I've never gotten further up stream myself than the the Bass River pits.

I'm with GRD3, no way am I boating to from Grand Haven to  Grand Rapids. My 23 foot SeaRay is racked in Grand Haven.  His comments about boaters is spot on.

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I heard that they may be postponing the river restoration another year as they figure out the sea lamprey situation.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiL1uTbhMThAhXD7oMKHR7uAEAQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.woodtv.com%2Fnews%2Fgrand-rapids%2Fgrand-river-restoration-project-could-be-delayed%2F1909661238&psig=AOvVaw3bg7WTvykJ6bPQOZR6a0xM&ust=1554934546870298

Stupid question, with the fish ladder, and the fact that a few fish actually make it over the dam, wouldn’t the lamprey already have hitchhiked it’s way up stream? Maybe I don’t understand how they spread, but I’m kind of shocked that the dam Hs stopped 100% of the spread of this invasive species. Just curious. 

Joe

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14 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

I heard that they may be postponing the rice restoration another year as they figure out the sea lamprey situation.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiL1uTbhMThAhXD7oMKHR7uAEAQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.woodtv.com%2Fnews%2Fgrand-rapids%2Fgrand-river-restoration-project-could-be-delayed%2F1909661238&psig=AOvVaw3bg7WTvykJ6bPQOZR6a0xM&ust=1554934546870298

Stupid question, with the fish ladder, and the fact that a few fish actually make it over the dam, wouldn’t the lamprey already have hitchhiked it’s way up stream? Maybe I don’t understand how they spread, but I’m kind of shocked that the dam Hs stopped 100% of the spread of this invasive species. Just curious. 

Joe

I read that, that's a bummer. I wonder too how that works. I saw a presentation about removing the dam about 6 or 7 years ago and it just mentioned that sea lamprey can't get over the dam or the fish ladder stairs (basically only salmon can). 

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According to some commenters on MLive (so take it with a whole quarry of salt) there are already sea lamprey upstream who have hitched a ride on salmon, and fishers have been pulling out salmon with sea lamprey attached.

If that's not the case, maybe the salmon aren't able to make the jump with the sea lamprey attached? Or maybe they just don't breed up there? idk

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These projects are so separate, other than being on the same waterway, I can’t imagine  the dredging project affecting rapids restoration. 

Joe

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Maybe Hibma's goal is to eventually connect the lagoon at his castle to the Grand River and have a medieval marina component as well?  Haha!

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Roger Lucas is the owner of the castle. He is married to a Land daughter but he's in the castle as sole owner according to what he said at a technical presentation on the project.

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