St. Mary’s River Ice Breaking Operations Begin

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On Monday March 07, 2016, U.S. Coast Guard Cutters BISCAYNE BAY (St Ignace, MI) and KATMAI BAY (Sault Sainte Marie, MI) will begin spring break out operations in the St Marys River in preparation for the 2016 shipping season.  These operations will start in the lower river and move north towards the Soo Locks at Sault Sainte Marie, MI.

These ice breaking operations will involve work in the up bound channel, also known as the Middle Neebish Channel, from Detour Reef Light north to Nine Mile Point.  It will also involve the southern segments of the West Neebish Channel, from Mud Lake Junction Light north towards Sawmill Point and the channel’s northern segment from Nine Mile Point south to Light 45.  The ice bridges above and below the Neebish Island Ferry crossing will not be impacted initially by this ice breaking work.  The West Neebish Channel in its entirety will be opened prior to the Marchn25th opening of the Soo Locks.  U.S. Coast Guard personnel will work with EUP Transit Authority officials to ensure adverse impact to the three ferries is kept to a minimum throughout the break out process.

Unlike the past two winters, this year was unseasonably warm.  Regional ice cover is not as expansive nor did it reach traditional thicknesses.  The forecast for the next seven to ten days calls for temperatures conducive to rapid deterioration of ice.  All snowmobile, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) operators, ice fishermen, and other recreational users of the ice should recognize the instability of the ice, plan their activities carefully, and use caution near the ice, especially in proximity to charted navigation areas.

Further inquiries can be made by phone to Sault Vessel Traffic Service at (906) 635-3232 or via email at SOOTFC@USCG.MIL.

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