Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder knew there was a problem.
He understood the impact that problem could have on an important segment of the state's recovering economy.
So he did what he does best - he thought outside the box.
In an important move that will make the difference for harbors across Michigan this summer, Snyder ordered state officials to make emergency funds available for harbor dredging.
Locally, harbors in Alpena, Rogers City and Harrisville will benefit from the funds. With communities facing historic making record-low water levels in Lake Huron, the dredging news was met favorably. In many instances a combination of low water and growing silt deposits would have made navigation in certain places of the harbors a tricky proposition this summer. Now, communities will not have that concern during boating season.
Michigan has pumped a lot of money into its Pure Michigan tourism efforts over the years as it attempts to attract more and more vacationers to the state, many of whom are towing boats behind them.
Not only from a state perspective, but also from a regional perspective, tourism has become an ever increasing major segment of the economy. Had the dredging funds not been there this year, who knows the impact poor harbor navigation would have had on tourism efforts.
We understand the impact of Snyder's decision. The funds for dredging will come in part from Michigan Waterways Commission money, thus delaying projects there by one year.
While unfortunate, we believe the trade-off is the right decision.
Northeast Michigan boaters should enjoy a better summer now. For that, they can thank Gov. Snyder.