Gov. Snyder approves emergency rule mandating a no-anchor zone in the Straits of Mackinac

LANSING — Governor Rick Snyder approved an emergency rule mandating a no-anchor zone in the Mackinac Straits on Thursday. The rule was issued by the Department of Natural Resources.

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, prohibiting anchoring in the Straits of Mackinac — where key infrastructure lines carry important resources between Michigan’s peninsulas — is critical to help prevent irreversible environmental damage to the state.

“Anchoring in the Straits of Mackinac poses a serious threat to the welfare and protection of Michigan and our vital natural resources,” Gov. Snyder said in the statement. “Anchoring could cause severe environmental damage and threatens to disrupt critical energy and communication services between the Upper and Lower peninsulas. This emergency rule will help us better protect Michigan waters and residents until a permanent solution is in place.”

The emergency rule formalizes a previously informal anchor restriction in the Straits of Mackinac by prohibiting anchoring under Michigan state law. Productive discussions are underway with the U.S. Coast Guard on permanent measures that would complement the state’s temporary emergency rule.

Issued under the Marine Safety sections of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, the emergency rule will remain in place for 6 months, with the option of an additional 6-month renewal.

The eastern boundary of the no-anchor zone is defined by the Mackinac Bridge. The western boundary is defined by a line beginning at the western edge of McGulpin Point in the Lower Peninsula to the western edge of an unnamed island immediately southwest of Point La Barbe in the Upper Peninsula. Click HERE to view a map of the boundaries.

Exceptions to the rule include:

  • Emergency situations;
  • Vessels operating under tribal authorities; and
  • Written requests documenting the location of the proposed anchorage and the reason for the request. These requests will be reviewed and granted at the discretion of the director of the Department of Natural Resources.