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Muskegon Save Our Shoreline (SOS) has been in existence since 1974 and was originally formed to successfully oppose the construction of a steel mill on the shores of Muskegon Lake. SOS continues to be involved with a number of issues primarily involving the preservation of the shoreline of Muskegon area lakes and allowing free public access.


I promise to protect the Earth, to respect wild animals and their habitats, to explore the wonders of nature through responsible choices and actions. I will lead by my example to help build a better future.

The W. G. Jackson Research and Education Vessel

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A Hundred Year Decision!

Melching Plans to Develop former Paper Mill Property for Heavy Industrial Uses! Property to be Split Up!

Melching Inc. plans include scrap metal processing, liquid ashphalt storage, bio mass fuel processing, bulk storage of construction materials, and biomass power generation. Before anything, a total environmental accessment needs to be completed to make sure no hazardous waste is on site, or in the spoils that Melching Inc. plans to dredge from Muskegon Lake.

Enough is Enough !

Muskegon Yacht Club Plans to Enclose Nearly
Two Acres of Muskegon Lake !

In 1985 Muskegon Yacht Club received a Michigan Department of Environmental Quality permit to expand their docking facilities. The 1985 project, which allowed them to enclose approximately two acres of Muskegon Lake, received a critical review due to the transfer of public domain to a private club. A permit was finally approved with a negotiated agreement that assured future expansion would not be allowed. The permit signed by the Muskegon Yacht Club Commodore contained a requirement that stated that by signing the agreement the Muskegon Yacht Club agreed that this would be the final expansion of the Muskegon Yacht Club's docking facilities, so the remaining surface would be available for public use.  They also agreed that they would not build any closer than 25 feet from their extended Northerly property line so that room was provided for ingress and egress, but as can be seen on the Surveyors Drawings found on this link, the dock was built within two feet of their extended property line.  On their southerly property line they actually built over their extended property line also seen on this link

Ignoring their signed agreement with their neighbors, and the people of the State of Michigan, the Yacht Club applied for a new permit, in 2003, to once again expand their docking facilities. That application was denied by the DEQ.  In the letter of denial (found at this link) the DEQ found that the issuance of a permit would have a significant adverse impact on the public trust, and impair the waters of Muskegon Lake. The DEQ also found that "this proposed marina expansion represents the additional conversion of public trust waters to private control. This proposal is inconsistent with the paramount right of the public to navigate and fish within the expansion area. Testimony received at the public hearing indicates that the area of the proposed expansion represents a prime fishing area on Muskegon Lake frequented by the public. Furthermore, the recognized importance of this area is reflected in the previous marina construction permit, permit 84-09-0-374-P, issued for this facility. Permit 84-09-0-374-P contains this condition of permit issuance: "By exercising the authority granted by this permit, permittee recognizes and agrees that this facility expansion constitutes the final expansion of docking facilities at the Muskegon Yacht Club, to preserve the the remaining open surface water for public use." Lastly the DEQ maintains that the reconfiguration of the existing facility to accommodate larger boats (including dredging) along with the installation of a wave attenuating structures within the existing footprint of bottomland occupation of this facility represents a feasible alternative which would meet the stated objectives of the project." 

Now,  disregarding their agreement with the public, and also disregarding the findings of the DEQ, the Muskegon Yacht Club (MYC) is now pursuing a contested case in front of an Administrative Law Judge, that would extend their current dock structure eastward. The structure and anchoring system would double the area that MYC currently consumes of Muskegon Lake.

Enough is enough!!  If you agree, you can help by letting your feelings be known by contacting the following people:

City of Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington

Senator Gerald Van Woerkom

Representative Doug Bennett

Luis A. Saldivia - Grand Rapids DEQ District Supervisor

In Summary The proposed Muskegon Yacht Club expansion would:

  • Take public property for private use
  • Enclose one of Muskegon Lake’s prime fishing locations
  • Disregard the area of the Federal Anchorage Area that was agreed upon by MYC and its neighbors.
  • Completely destroy the promise that the Muskegon Yacht Club made with its neighbors and the State of Michigan to never expand their docking facilities again.


Nugent Responsible for its own problem

By Jeff Alexander,


If you create a problem, it's your responsibility to fix it without creating another one.

That was the overriding message delivered Wednesday
when Michigan's top environmental official denied
Nugent Sand Co.'s proposal to build a 600-foot
pipeline through a 4,000-year-old Lake Michigan dune.

Nugent was seeking a state permit to build the pipeline so it could discharge 8
million gallons per day of treated wastewater from its sand-cleaning process into
Lake Michigan. Company officials said they needed the pipeline to lower the
water level in a manmade lake Nugent created at its mining site; the company wants
to build 65 homes around the lake in a development called Dune Harbor.

Nugent officials said they were surprised when the water level in the man-made
lake rose six feet after mining ceased on the south portion of its 440-acre site.

Steven Chester, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and
a Muskegon area native, called the company's alleged surprise a "red herring."

"Beneath Dune Harbor's position that the higher lake level was unexpected lies
the tacit acknowledgment that it failed to monitor the rising lake level," Chester
said in his ruling. "There is no excuse for this surprise.

"Given the history of annual fluctuations (in water levels), given the importance of
lake levels to its (development) plans, given the ease of observing the lake level,
how Dune Harbor could fail to notice a six-foot increase in the lake level is hard
to fathom," Chester said.

Nugent owner Bob Chandonnet declined to comment on Chester's order. Chandonnet
said he wanted to thoroughly review the order before commenting on it.

Nugent could appeal Chester's ruling in circuit court.

Environmental activists praised Chester's decision.

"I think it shows what the DEQ is more aware of environmental issues than it has
been in the past," said Jamie Morton, manager of outreach programs for the
Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Chester's ruling does not affect Nugent's ongoing sand-mining operation. The
company is still mining the north portion of its property and is seeking renewal
of a state permit that would allow mining to continue through 2012.

But the company's plan to lower the water level in the man-made lake by piping
water to Lake Michigan is dead unless Nugent takes its case to court and wins.

Since Nugent created the lake, Chester said, the company must solve the high
water problem on its own -- without building a pipeline that would damage
a coastal dune protected by state law.

"It is unrefuted that by its very scale, the project will fundamentally alter the
physical characteristic of the dune," Chester said in his 21-page ruling.
"I find, as a matter of fact, the proposed project will likely cause an adverse impact
to the dune."

Chester offered a solution to Nugent's water woes: Build fewer houses around the
lake. Chester said Nugent could build 48 homes around the lake, without lowering
the water level, and still earn a profit of between $900,000 and $1.9 million on
the project.

"Such a development would eliminate any need to impact the critical dune,"
Chester said in his ruling. "Dune Harbor can realize the benefit of the
proposed alteration, residential development of the site, while the environment
and ecology of the dune is assured."

During an earlier hearing on the pipeline project, Chester said Nugent officials
testified that the company expected to earn as much as $5 million by building 65
large homes around the man-made lake.

Downsizing the Dune Harbor development would not deny Nugent's right to
a reasonable use of its property, Chester said.

The proposed pipeline sparked a fierce community controversy.

Many area residents and officials from the cities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights
and Norton Shores expressed concern that Nugent's plan to discharge millions
of gallons of treated process wastewater into Lake Michigan could pollute the
lake, which provides drinking water for those communities. DEQ officials had said
the discharge would not pollute Lake Michigan, but many area residents
remained skeptical.

Critics said the proposed pipeline -- which would have dumped water
treated wastewater from Nugent's sand-cleaning process into a 1,925-square foot,
rock-filled plunge pool on the Lake Michigan beach -- would have been an eyesore
and a potential hazard to kids playing on the beach.

In his ruling, Chester said the proposed pipeline project would not threaten human
health or public safety. But he said the proposed plunge pool constituted a structure
and, as such, was prohibited by state law from being constructed on the beach.
Nugent officials had argued the plunge pool did not meet the legal definition of
a structure.

Nugent critics called Chester's decision a watershed event in the annals of
Muskegon County's environmental history.

"It's a great step forward for Muskegon. We're finally protecting our environment
and taking a stand to protect the most beautiful place on Earth," said Darlene
DeHudy, vice president of Muskegon Save Our Shoreline.

©2006 Muskegon Chronicle
© 2006 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

© Muskegon Save Our Shoreline