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Archive for Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mapping gets to bottom of state’s shrinking lakes

Project uses echo sounding to gauge depth of sediment

December 17, 2006

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— Kansas is gaining ground, and not in a good way.

The state's lakes and reservoirs are filling in with sediment, sometimes at alarming rates, and that could mean hundreds of millions of dollars in dredging costs.

The Kansas Biological Survey at Kansas University has been hired as part of a $60,000 pilot project by the Kansas Water Office to determine the scope of the problem, using a high-tech echo sounding system to measure the depth of lakes and the amount of sedimentation.

"There is just this crying need for information on reservoirs for this state," said Mark Jakubauskas, research associate professor at the Biological Survey and team leader for the reservoir assessment initiative.

Determining the water storage capacity at lakes can help in planning for communities that depend on the lakes for recreation, drinking water and flood control, he said.

The reduction in depth and surface of public water supplies also can promote the growth of blue-green algae, which can cause odor and taste problems in drinking water.

Using a system that sends sound waves to the bottom of a lake, Biological Survey scientists ply waters in a specially equipped pontoon boat. They have already surveyed Olathe, Carbondale, Gardner, Lone Star and Dabinawa lakes. The team also will map Wabaunsee Lake and John Redmond Lake.

The system can take 40,000 depth measurements in two hours to make extremely detailed maps of a lake bottom. The system also can measure the thickness of the sediment and even put together an inventory of fish species.

Sedimentation is caused by soil erosion from farmlands and construction sites that flow downstream and collect on the floor of lakes.

"Sedimentation is a natural occurrence, and it is one of the biggest challenges we have," said Hank Ernst, a spokesman for the Kansas Water Office. "It's better to know your situation."

Many upper reaches of Kansas lakes and reservoirs have become mud flats. Estimates indicate Lake Perry's storage capacity has decreased 23 percent in 32 years, which is evident in the north end where there are trees and grasses.

State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who was instrumental in moving funds to programs that address problems with drinking water lakes, said the information derived from the Biological Survey mapping was crucial.

In addressing problems of sedimentation, "you have to know what the lakes look like," Sloan said.

Plus, he said, the mapping could help develop strategies to reduce the impact of sedimentation. For instance, he said, dredging can be done in one area of the lake to catch sediment.

"Kansas soils are very light and will always be carried by water," he said. "Through mapping, we could have the capability of developing sediment pools and dredge out a hole to get the sediment there, and address the problem in a more confined area."

The state also is involved in developing buffers of vegetation on stream banks that help prevent sedimentation from flowing into Kansas' system of man-made lakes.

"We don't have a lot of natural places for lakes; Mother Nature just wants to fill in these spots," Jakubauskas said.

Comments

monkeyspunk 8 years ago

In North Central Kansas, in and around Cloud county, many of the creek beds are filled with towering marijuana plants.

Not that familiar with its soil prevention qualities, but wouldn't a NATIVE plant be more suitable for such a task?

(Only two posts in, and the thread has already been hijacked)

Mike Blur 8 years ago

Uh-oh, this opens up several cans of worms for me.

For one, the increasing sedimentation of Perry Lake can be solved (partially) by implementation of the Plum Creek reservoir project upstream. The residents directly upstream of the Perry Lake basin are keenly aware of the flood perils they must deal with; it is only the transparent racism of the Nemaha-Brown County Watershed District board and their few constituents they cater to that is preventing this project from happening.

Two, this also ties into my position in favor of legalization of marijuana and hemp as a legal cash crop. The marijuana plant is a weed (that's why they call it weed!); and would be beneficial when planted on, and close to, riverbanks and creekbanks to retard soil erosion.

I remember in the mid-80s there were literally dozens of creekbeds in NE KS infested with zillions of stalks of "marijuana" plants. Those of us that were somewhat knowledgable of the situation knew that the plants were utterly worthless , except to maybe cut a bag of marginal ditchweed. (Although that knowledge didn't deter law enforcement back them from placing a value on worthless ditchweed back then into the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of "alleged" dollars.)

However, in the Reagan 80's there were hundreds of teams sent out along the ditches and creekbeds of Kansas hellbent on ridding our Great State of the vile devil's weed, even if all the plants were impotent eunuchs that actually served a purpose and assisted in retarding soil erosion. That is a major reason, but obviously, not the only reason why sedimentation is a scourge in most of our lakes in Kansas.

I have more to say, but I'll monitor this thread to hear what other people think. This is an important issue that affects all of us.

(Oh, for the record: I am not a pothead: I don't smoke anything and haven't in over 2 decades, when I did "inhale" a couple times back in the day.)

ASBESTOS 8 years ago

WHY are these "surveys" only done by Public Sector entities in Kansas. Here is a $60,000 project that should have gone to the private sector.

Socialism in Kansas ... AGAIN!

So Mike in your stellar analysis siltation and sedimentation in Preey Res is caused by eridication of pot (I guess nothing grown back, huh) and racism. Nothing about Physical Geography and geology in that analysis at all. You are a retard.

Lakes in Kansas will ALWAYS slit up, the Kansas soils and river basins are mostly unconsolidated formations and soils. THAT is the reason, nor racism, and definately not wild ditch weed. Building another resivor just moves the deposition upstream.

THe solution? Derdge the resivors, ... or put in causeways and clean them. Causeways should have been installed in all Kansas resivors when they were constructed. At the time that seemed the place to cut costs. THis however reduces the service life of a resivor.

ASBESTOS 8 years ago

Very good reality check.

"Well, at some point, we have to admit to ourselves the damage that farming causes, and work to mitigate it. But the Kanss Farm Bureau is so powerful, they will fight any such thing unless farmers can be told how it will save them money."

This is an area that is expecially sore for me. KDHE DOES have a stormwater runoff law. However just like this crew from the Kansas Biological Survey doing this project, KDHE does the "consulting" for the agriculture sector as part of their "enforcement and regu;lation". SO we the taxpayers are paying for the work that the farmers are supposed to be doing.

There are other runoff problems in Kansas as well and that is from construction and feedlots. KDHE there also "partners with polluters" and does the work for them there as well. YES, the KFB and the KLA and the General Contractors Association are leading our legislators and state agency personnel around by their noses.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

Farmers hopefully are looking for organic matter to plow back into ground as well to make more dirt. Provides food for growth. Need to cut back on chemical poison so folks can eat fish from the river.

Industrial pot is not an off the wall plan for it has a tough root system. Not only that it appears were heading into 2007 with drought conditions @ 2006 Precip: 30.88" (-8.13"). We've probaly been in this situation 2 years previous and it's like never catching up. Industrial hemp can deal with somewhat dry conditions and would provide local family farms with a cash crop that has a multitude of applications. http://everything.hemp.com/

Anyone I know that toyed around with this hemp did not make it back for more. Harsh reaction to the throat. Not a sweet treat apparently. Anyway we are experiencing a lack of fresh water from mother nature at this point.

LongGoneFromLarryville 8 years ago

"Hundreds of millions of dollars in dredging costs" ?

Good god, let it fill in and build another damn somewhere else. Let's not lose sight of the fact that these aren't exactly natural features! All that's happened is that dirt moved from one place to another. Damn good Kansas dirt, I might add.

BunE 8 years ago

Socialism? Because a research institution has been hired? Are you kidding? That is why we have research institutions. All of this whining about privatization is extremely annoying. The private sector is good at making t.v.'s, finding new drugs, and banking. There may be some research companies that do this sort of work, but there is not a lot of profit in mapping lakes. The University of Kansas is a top notch biology school, in Kansas, with research capabilities. Hm, Uh, Yeah, hiring the experts to learn about Kansas and utilize its Kansas based research facilities is socialism.

You are kidding, right?

Wait, you aren't...Do you own a boat with the right equipment and some sweet software? Did you over bid the contract and are now smarting with failure as your dream of mapping Kansas lakes has been washed away?

gontek 8 years ago

Why LJW call it what is: Bathymetry... Or don't they know?

Kristine Bailey 8 years ago

The watershed District around Clinton has built lots of "Watershed Ponds" around the Clinton Watershed. These are constructed to aquire some of the silt before it gets to the lake. Trust me, I have one that is 10 acres. No I won't tell you where it is. Corn, milo and some of the soy beans, are grown to feed livestock that we eat. Maybe we should replant native grass and only eat Buffalo!

ASBESTOS 8 years ago

"You are kidding, right?"

NO BunE, I am not kidding. The state of Kansas uses its agencies to do private sector work all the time. Whom is doing the stream monitoring (water quality) and aqua fauna sampling? KDWP and KDHE. They are slow and not very good at it. Whom does the employment safety OSHA surveys? KDOL!

Whom did the stormwater runoff and the Confined anmal feeder operations funoff consulting?

KDHE! Those two things have the greatest impact for the issue at hand and water quality issues. Hell KDHE cannot even manage their UST program nor their SUPERFUND program.

Am I kidding? NO and it is very sad, and costs the Kansas economy BILLIONS and reduces the Kansas quality of life.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

"Do you own a boat with the right equipment and some sweet software? Did you over bid the contract and are now smarting with failure as your dream of mapping Kansas lakes has been washed away?"

Never was up for bid. Remember socialism. The private sector in Kansas never gets a chance to even try. It is the goobernment that has all the money and keeps all the money instead of building an economy.

Sound familiar yet? BTW, the State Research orgs, DO NOT HAVE PORFESSIONAL E AND O INSURANCE!!!!! Private engineering and environmental firms DO. ANd YES we DO have the material and the software and the expertise. We can get jobs OUTSIDE OF KANSAS. But Kansas does not allow us to work here.

Socialists? YOU BET!

LogicMan 8 years ago

Other than the cost, don't stress-out over this subject. Lakes, channels, canals, etc. require maintenance -- either dredging or draining/drying/excavating. And the soil that will come out will be really good stuff for growing things, after it has dried in the sun.

BunE 8 years ago

Wow, you are really up in arms about it. I am not sure that you understand the concept of socialism, but I will save that for another day. I also am not sure that you understand how government works. The State of Kansas appoints the proper agency to do the project, and then it is bid out or not, per the parameters of the project. When there are opportunities to create learning moments, the returns will be exponential. That is how education works.

I had a feeling you were feeling slighted about this project. It also seems that you just have an axe to grind against the government. Are you also afraid of black helicopters and jackbooted thugs? Did Gov Sebelius hurt you in some way?

compmd 8 years ago

hey, leave my black helicopters out of this!

relax, there is so much equipment for professional work that ku owns it isn't funny. a lot of it doesn't get used that often. however we don't see ku students and staff taking every engineering or science project that pops up.

when I see ku architecture students building a new state building, or ku civil engineers buiding new roads, or ku electrical engineers working on powerlines, then I will give more merit to asbestos' argument.

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