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Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Governor to make plea for Perry Lake

August 30, 2006

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— The fight between the state and federal governments about water releases from Perry Lake will be waged at higher levels, it was announced Tuesday.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will appeal to U.S. Army Assistant Secretary John Paul Woodley Jr. to reduce the releases that are hurting recreational boating at the lake. The meeting between the two officials is scheduled for Friday in Topeka. Woodley is in charge of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns Perry Lake.

"The rules are in the way, and they have to be changed," Joe Harkins, special assistant to Sebelius, said to an appreciative crowd of more than 100 people who gathered Tuesday night at the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds.

The meeting was called by boaters at Perry Lake who have asked the corps to reduce water releases from the lake.

"We're really looking for a permanent solution instead of the uncertainty we have from year to year," said Tony Andresen, commodore of the Perry Yacht Club.

Corps officials, however, said they were required by law to make the drawdowns to assist navigation of barges and other commercial watercraft on the Missouri River.

Using Perry Lake waters for navigation is part of the lake's mission, they said.

Gary Tempelton, who lives along the west side of Perry Lake, walks down a usually level dock to his sailboat. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water from the lake to the Missouri River, lowering the lake level.

Gary Tempelton, who lives along the west side of Perry Lake, walks down a usually level dock to his sailboat. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water from the lake to the Missouri River, lowering the lake level.

Allen Tool, chief of the hydrologic engineering branch of the corps' Kansas City, Mo., district, said deviations to the lake's required operations have been allowed in previous years.

But, Tool added, "they're not to be used as long-term strategies."

But boaters and state officials argued that drawing down the level of Perry Lake by as much as 6 feet had little to no effect on streamflow of the Missouri River.

And, they said, the economic impact of boating on the lake outweighs the economic benefit of water releases for barge traffic.

Congress has authorized a study to determine whether the master plan for operation of the river basin should be changed. But officials noted that the study hasn't been funded yet, and even if it does get funded, those kinds of studies take years.

In the meantime, Harkins argued, the state and corps need to come up with a compromise to balance the needs of recreational boaters with downstream navigation.

"Between now and the time it gets resolved, we need to use common sense," he said.

Also attending the meeting were state Reps. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, and Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, several state agency leaders and additional corps officials. Representatives of U.S. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts and representatives of U.S. Reps. Jim Ryun and Dennis Moore also attended.

Comments

betti81 8 years, 3 months ago

does anyone know what time the meeting is friday?

number3of5 8 years, 3 months ago

The governor must be seeking votes to become involved in a situation between recreation and commerce. Did the people who are using the lake for recreation pay for the building of it? I know tax money did and they pay taxes yada yada. This nation has become so involved in personal recreation that it is not a hobby anymore, but an industry. What say we quit using our natural resorces for personal fun and save them by staying home and playing checkers or dominos with the very troubled youth of today.

kujeeper 8 years, 3 months ago

Maybe everyone needs to realize that barges are an extremely outdated form of transportation, a severe polluter of our rivers and that they need to be done away with.

arlo 8 years, 3 months ago

number3of5, "What say we quit using our natural resorces for personal fun and save them by staying home and playing checkers or dominos with the very troubled youth of today." Do you really not think that the vast majority of time spent on these lakes is not spent doing the very things you are talking about? Since when do families not hunt,fish, and boat togather any more...

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 3 months ago

Barges carry way more grain than semi or trains carry, and for much less money. Would you rather have more semi's clogging the roads? Would you rather pay higher prices for cereal and bread because of increased transportation costs?

Since some of the drinking water for Lawrence comes out of the Kansas River, and there is no barge traffic on our section of the Kansas River, the boats that are polluting our drinking water are those that operate on lakes likes Perry. Have you ever seen the oil slick behind those puttering fishing boats with the two stroke motors? Yuck!

prioress 8 years, 3 months ago

"Maybe everyone needs to realize that barges are an extremely outdated form of transportation, a severe polluter of our rivers and that they need to be done away with." +++++++ If you get your way, be prepared to pay more for lots of "basics." Using your logic, we'd ban semi-trailers and force companies to use 25 small pickup trucks to handle the loads. The lakes were built for flood prevention and, when requested, to let water out for navigation. Recreation is an unintended side effect.

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