Work temporarily closes Oman's Creek boat launch


June 13, 2019

Richard Jenkins/Daily Globe

WORKERS TAKE offshore soil boring samples near Oman's Creek Wednesday as part of an effort to prevent the sediment buildup that closes off the creek from Lake Superior.


Ironwood Township - The Oman's Creek boat launch and adjoining parking area was closed to the public this week as workers took soil boring samples on a barge close to shore.

The launch was closed Tuesday through today, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, to allow the work to be completed.

"This work is part of a site improvement project that is aimed at providing better public access and shoreline erosion control," said James Peace, the lead ranger at Lake Gogebic State Park. The borings are part of the $1.1 million project to construct a sediment groin at Oman's Creek.

A groin is a low wall built into the lake that is designed to prevent the sediment buildup.

"The main difference between (a groin) and say, a breakwall, is - a breakwall is used to deflect or mitigate wave energy, where a groin is more to protect from sediment," Porcupine Mountain and Lake Gogebic State Park unit manager Jeff Gaertner told the Daily Globe in 2017 after the DNR reviewed designs proposals for the project.

Without the groin, sediment builds up at the creek mouth and closes it off from Lake Superior, with frequent dredging needed to keep the waterway open.

The DNR hopes the groin will prevent, or delay, the sediment buildup.

"If a groin is not designed of sufficient length, the sediment could pass around the end of the groin after a relatively short period of time," Gaertner wrote in a description of the project. At the time, a short period was defined as five years or less.

He said sediment would eventually build up enough to bypass the groin, but the goal was to delay that as long as possible.

"(The design team is) going to be investigating how the sediment moves out there - where it's coming from, where it's going, how all that process works out there," Gaertner wrote in the description. "That's all part of the design they are supposed to figure out - what that optimum length is - so we don't put something out there and then the next year, we start dredging operations out 100 feet or whatever.

"They're supposed to figure out what the optimum length (of the groin) is to give us the best bang for our buck."

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