Harbor Authority

On July 14, 2008, the Cities of Saugatuck and Douglas, along with Saugatuck Township officials, authorized the establishment of a harbor committee to address the increasingly serious problems associated with the Saugatuck-Douglas Harbor. Chief among these issues were the historically low water levels combined with significant amounts of soil sediment collecting at the bottom of the harbor. The combination of these two problems has made several areas of the harbor too shallow for a majority of watercraft to navigate, both large and small. Further exacerbating these issues was the lack of a central agency that is charged with providing clear markers to designate the location of the river channel. As a result, boaters who do not know our harbor well would often have a poor experience trying to navigate the shallow waters. Some of these visitors have chosen not to return to the area due to the inconvenience.

In December of 2010 the Cities of Saugatuck and Douglas approved an intergovernmental agreement to expand the work scope of the Harbor Committee and explore the establishment of a Harbor Authority. Saugatuck Township postponed signing the agreement at its March 2, 2011 meeting, citing concerns about making any future monetary commitments at that time. Given the situation facing Saugatuck Township, the Harbor Committee decided at its March 15, 2011 meeting to allow Saugatuck and Douglas to move ahead without the Township to negotiate an agreement to form a Harbor Commission or Harbor Authority. The Township has continued to be involved in the meetings and planning stages since that time but does not have specific voting power. The ability of the Township to rejoin in the future has been reserved.

Saugatuck-Douglas Harbor Plan