News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Open house held on Detroit Lake dredging

Approximately 50 people participated in a May 20 open house to discuss a proposed dredging project at Detroit Lake.

Marion County officials are hoping to dredge the area under Kane’s Marina and the Detroit Lake Marina to make it easier for the two operations to stay open when the lake level is low. The dredging is expected to extend the boating season and give a strong boost to the local economy.

The open house was held in conjunction with the fishing derby to maximize participation, said Lari Rupp, economic development specialist with Marion County. Rupp said that staff walked around to engage people about the project and pass out comment forms.

The next step, Rupp said, is to gather and review all of the public feedback as well as information from regulatory agencies and biologists and narrow the options for disposing of the sediment from the dredging. 

Once the Board of Commissioners has signed off on the sediment plan, perhaps as soon as this summer, the project will move into engineering, permitting, and construction phases. 

County officials have set a goal of completing construction by December 2026.

Funding for the $5 million project already is in hand. Early appropriations produced $3 million for the project via state lottery funds and federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, with an allocation of $2 million secured by then-U.S. Rep Kurt Schrader finishing off the funding piece.

The county plan calls for the removal of 162,000 cubic yards of sediment from beneath the two marinas. 

The work would be done in the winter and would not interfere with the recreation season at the lake, where August alone can often produce up to 60 percent of annual revenue for businesses in the region.

In Detroit, low water years translates to economic struggles. And because Detroit Lake Marina and Kane’s Marina both lie on shallow shelves, they are forced to close frequently when water is being drained from the lake.

Detroit Lake Marina and Kane’s Marina “serve as the economic engines for the area,” said a county report on the dredging project. 

County officials project a positive economic impact of more than $1 million per year if the dredging moves forward.

The project, which is backed by both Kane’s Marina and the Detroit Lake Marina, has been a long time coming.

County officials first proposed the idea in the 2018-19 fiscal year, but it was tabled because of other challenges including COVID-19 and wildfires.

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