To the editor:
"Head-cutting" is a damaging upstream-moving erosion that occurs above holes dug in riverbeds. Landowners on the Kansas River west of Eudora may soon become head-cutting's next victims.
Kaw Sand Company of Lawrence is seeking a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit to mine the river at Eudora. In the last eight months, three separate companies have now applied to dredge the Kansas River within a 15-mile radius of Lawrence. Clearly, the river has been targeted for destruction.
Once commercial in-stream mining begins, it continues for decades. A deep channel is formed in each site, a long "hole' that the river tries to repair with eroded material.
From Bonner Springs to Kansas City, the river is 300 feet wider than it was before dredging. That will happen here, too -- up to eight miles above Eudora, riverbanks will collapse and the floodplain will erode into the river.
In time, the Eudora site will mostly hold sand that eroded from upstream. In reality, a Corps dredging permit authorizes Kaw Sand Company to use head-cutting as a method of taking mineral resources from upstream landowners.
Floodplain sand and gravel is equal in market value to that in the dredging site. So because of head-cutting, landowners west of Eudora stand to lose acreage and mineral resources valued at many millions of dollars.
Kaw Sand's site brackets the Kansas River bridge at Eudora. If head-cutting erodes its south approach and the bridge must be closed, the social and economic impacts to Eudora, Linwood and Tonganoxie will be severe.
The Kansas River is one of only two publicly navigable streams in the state. Boaters enjoy the Lawrence-to-Eudora section due to its excellent waterfowl hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching, sightseeing and sandbar camping.
If you want dredging companies to get off this river and stay off, let the governor of Kansas know.
1605 W. 27th.