The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Wednesday that a barrel recovery operation is in progress on Lake Superior near the McQuade Safe Harbor.
A crane on a platform being held by a tugboat could be seen at the popular landing Wednesday afternoon about 13 miles northeast of Duluth. Buoys marked a safety zone around the area.
According to the Coast Guard, it’s a continuation of a project being paid for with $3.3 million of U.S. Department of Defense money through the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa based near Bayfield.
The band raised 25 barrels last summer through its contractor, EMR of Duluth, and found that they contained active explosives — detonators for cluster bombs — along with other industrial waste. Experts earlier this year said the materials did not pose any immediate threat to human health or the environment.
The cache was 45 barrels short of what the band had planned to pull up in 2012. The band cut back on its earlier plan to retrieve 70 barrels to save enough money to deal with the explosives, Melonee Montano told the News Tribune in March. She’s the band’s environmental director.
Messages left with officials with the Red Cliff band were not immediately returned Wednesday.