Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

College of Technology

Committee Member

Daniel J. Fields, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Benedict Ilozor, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William A. Moylan, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William F. Welsh, Ph.D.


This study explored the permitting, design, and construction of crib docks in the Les Cheneaux and Drummond Island region of Michigan. It employed an exploratory two-phase mixed-methods research design: first to qualitatively explore and define the problem, and then to quantitatively evaluate a convenience sample of crib docks to determine appropriate permit and construction norms that meet functional requirements while addressing ecological and waterway concerns. The variables considered included siting, design, superstructure, and ground anchorage.

The qualitative findings demonstrated that the USACE and MDEQ are the approving agencies for crib docks and oppose new crib dock construction permits, because they consume Great Lakes bottomland and create waterway obstacles. While the agencies do approve crib dock construction permits, the norms are vague and ill-defined. Conversely, the USFS and MDNR promote the use of submerged crib-based structures to enhance fish habitat. The findings also showed that local governments consider crib docks to be temporary structures even though they last 30 years. Because they are temporary structures, the local governments do not require them to meet state residential construction code requirements. These contradictory position and lack of code standards leaves dock applicants in a confusing, frustrating position. The quantitative findings reflected the lack of code enforcement and showed that crib docks could be made significantly safer and more environmentally friendly by imposing key design and structural norms.

The conclusions and recommendations outline government policy actions to better define the crib dock approval process and propose standards for the approval and v construction of crib docks. The recommendations also outline additional research to further clarify the remaining inconsistencies in this multi-jurisdictional construction code issue.