URGENT: Michigan Must Protect the Saugatuck Dunes – Deny the Padnos Marina Project!

Please join the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance and its over 1,000 supporters and sign our petition asking the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to deny permits associated with Application 2R8-N9W4-J542 that would allow excavation of a 1600’-long marina channel within Michigan’s Critical Dune Boundary and through the buried ghost town of Singapore near the mouth of the Kalamazoo River in an area comprised of Natural Areas and Conservation Easements. A marina is not a compatible economic use within Michigan's Critical Dunes, especially in the proposed area.

Sign and share this urgent petition before the Oct. 26 DEQ deadline in order to keep this special natural area protected.

The excavation of more than 200,000 tons of sand within Michigan’s Critical Dune Boundary for a commercial purpose constitutes ‘Sand Dune Mining’ per Part 637 of Act 451 and is prohibited. Additionally, the proposed marina poses a potential navigational safety hazard and violates the local unit of government’s model zoning ordinance, Article Xll - Water Access and Dock Density Regulations, Section 40-910(h), that reads, ‘In no event shall a canal or channel be excavated for the purpose of increasing the Water Frontage.

Please also write your comments/reasons for the denial emphasizing how the proposal will negatively impact the public interest (your interest) in the historic Singapore site, the Saugatuck Dunes, and the navigational safety at the Kalamazoo River mouth – this is important. Include your name and address. Please be factual and respectful. The documents associated with the permit are available for viewing and comment here.
We, the undersigned, request that the permits associated with Northshores of Saugatuck Application 2R8-N9W4-J542 be denied for the reasons stated below:


  • The permit must be denied per Part 353 of Act 451.

    • The proposal eliminates the fundamental character of the Saugatuck Dunes by removing more than 200,000 tons of sand within Michigan’s Critical Dune Boundary.

    • The excavation will significantly damage the public interest in, and the local tourist-based economy dependent upon, the historic site of Singapore and the functioning diverse dunes eco-system reliant upon the globally-imperiled interdunal wetlands – this is based in comprehensive scientific data.

    • There are prudent and feasible development alternatives to the proposed marina channel that retain the current balance of dunes protection, economic development, and private property rights; this balance has been unanimously approved in local government decision-making affecting critical dunes that clearly states: “Although waterfront lands have a high revenue generating potential, a major attraction of both the Lake Michigan and Kalamazoo River waterfronts is their scenic, natural shorelines composed of forested sand dunes and large wetland areas. Should these natural areas be greatly damaged or destroyed through inappropriate development, then the 'goose that laid the golden egg' will be dead.” As such, the proposed marina channel, which is not a compatible economic use of the Critical Dunes, must be denied.





  • Additionally, the proposed marina may violate Sec. 30106a of Act 451.

    • The proposed marina appears to interfere with navigation at the narrowest, most congested part of the river mouth.

    • The design is also inconsistent with the rights of other riparians as it violates local zoning, Article Xll - Water Access and Dock Density Regulations, Section 40-910(h), that reads, ‘In no event shall a canal or channel be excavated for the purpose of increasing the Water Frontage.’





  • Finally, the application must be denied according to Part 637 ‘Sand Dune Mining’ of Act 451. “Sand dune mining” means the removal of sand from sand dune areas for commercial purposes. Section 63702 states clearly: ‘Notwithstanding any other provision of this part, the department shall not issue a sand dune mining permit within a critical dune area as defined in part 353 after July 5, 1989.’

Update #21 months ago
MDEQ is hearing us! They've extended the public comment period - so please share the petition right now with anyone you know who loves Michigan's wild, natural places. Let's see if we can hit 50K comments for the dunes!
Update #11 months ago
Thank you again for sharing your voice in the efforts to preserve the Saugatuck Dunes and stop a proposed marina. We are pleased to report that over 200 people attended the hearing last Tuesday. 45 people spoke out against the marina and only one spoke in favor of it.

The DEQ will be accepting comments from the public until this Friday, the 27th, so please continue to share the petition. You may also send comments directly to the DEQ at: BayhaJ@michigan.gov

We appreciate all your efforts!
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