Macomb officials announce $300k seawall project to protect boathouse

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Harrison Township — Macomb County officials have announced a $300,000 sea wall construction project designed to protect the county sheriff's Marine Division Boathouse from record high water levels.

The Macomb County Sheriff Marine Division Boathouse is facing "severe damage" due to high water levels on the Great Lakes and their tributaries, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

"To prevent future flooding issues at the boathouse, Macomb County has announced it is working with the state of Michigan and the (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) to protect the structure by constructing 282 linear feet of sea wall and raising the dock area around the facility," the release said.

Macomb County Sheriff's Marine Safety Officer Terry Gasparski uses his binoculars on Patrol Boat 5.

County officials estimate the project will cost about $300,000, 75% of which will be paid for by federal tax dollars Construction is expected to begin in the fall, and will be finished by spring 2021, pending approval by the Army Corps.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham pointed out in the release that his Marine Division patrols 85 square miles of Lake St. Clair, the one-mile international border with Canada, 30 miles of shoreline, the Clinton River, the Salt River and the Black Creek. 

“These officers perform essential functions that ensure the safety and well-being of our entire community, so the county is taking new steps to protect the Harrison Township boathouse from high water levels and flooding," Wickersham said in a statement. "This work will help our Marine Division carry out its role in a timely and efficient manner.”

Previous efforts by the county to protect the boathouse include creating a temporary water barrier that required 1,000 sandbags, about about 300 labor hours to fill.

"Additionally, materials and labor were expended to build temporary decks on top of the boat docks to raise them above the elevated water level, and to extend building downspouts outside the immediate flood area," the release said. "Catch basins have been pumped out multiple times, and pumps were installed to remove excess water."

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said in a statement: “On several occasions, the boathouse’s garage, common areas and staff work areas have experienced significant flooding, and the indoor boat storage area has become unusable. The only alternative left is to build a higher seawall in order to protect this county facility.”