Archive for Thursday, September 18, 2008

County extends permit to dredge sand in river

A longtime Kansas River dredging operation east of Lawrence gets a renewed permit tonight. Environmental advocates told Douglas County commissioners tonight that the practice can damage the river bed, habitat and water quality.

September 18, 2008


County commissioners gave unanimous approval Wednesday night to renew a permit for a Kansas River sand and gravel dredging operation east of Lawrence.

Environmental advocates urged commissioners to work with the dredging company to instead have them mine in a sand pit in the river valley.

But all three commissioners gave different reasons for voting to renew the Kaw Sand and Penny's Concrete Inc. dredging permit on farmland south of the Kansas River, about 2 miles east of Lawrence.

"(Some day) if you get a request for a pit or a dredge or a quarry, and everybody agrees, somebody call me because I want to be here," said Commissioner Bob Johnson, who is not seeking another term on the commission.

The companies have had a conditional-use permit to take sand and gravel from the Kansas River on Schaake Farms Inc. property, 1752 N. 1500 Road, since 1991. The companies also have a permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Laura Calwell, riverkeeper for Friends of the Kaw, said dredging can damage the riverbed, habitat and water quality.

"We would like to see them off the river because they do substantial damage to the riverbanks and the riverbed," she said.

Calwell suggested giving the companies a two-year transition to relocate to pit mines in the valley.

David Hoover, president of the companies, said experts believed the riverbed has and is degrading naturally, and Hoover said the companies comply with their permit regulations.

Johnson said the companies had been good stewards and that the new permit would run concurrently with the Corps of Engineers permit.

Commissioner Charles Jones told Calwell and others that the environmental issues with dredging, pit mining and rock quarries should be part of a larger policy discussion.

"What we have to do is engage in this discussion, but that discussion isn't going to be resolved here and now tonight, and it may take us 10 years to work our way through these details," Jones said.

He also said a condition of the permit was for the companies to obey all state and federal laws.

Commissioner Jere McElhaney said the only change in the new permit was a different location for a stockpile. He criticized the Friends of the Kaw and the Kansas Wildlife Federation for suggesting a private business move its operation without "offering any solutions or monetary value for that."

Commissioners approved the permit to last until Dec. 13, 2012, when a zoning administrator can grant an extension for up to six years.


hipper_than_hip 9 years, 7 months ago

Some surveyors working for the COE told me that dredging the channel makes the water in the channel flow faster. But since the channel isn't always in the middle, then you will have increased bank erosion where the channel is close to the bank.The landowners who are worried about erosion can always dump more old cars, washing machines, loads of asphalt shingles, etc. down the river bank to help keep the bank from washing away.

gr 9 years, 7 months ago

"He also said a condition of the permit was for the companies to obey all state and federal laws."Good thing Sebelius wasn't involved!Sand filling Clinton lake and the rivers is bad. It probably causes global warming.Removing the sand is bad. It probably causes global warming.Next thing you know, they will be protesting for dredging Clinton and Perry lakes.When is helping to prevent floods by cleaning out the river from man-caused erosion a bad thing?

JerryStubbs 9 years, 7 months ago

What happens is that erosion takes sand away from the banks to fill the hole, so landowners along the rivers can lose acerage.I guess the COE knows how to plan the amount and location where the effects are mitigated. Some is continually being brought downstream to replenish the sand taken.

WTF 9 years, 7 months ago

Harm water quality? What! It's flowing mud now, what else could happen to it? I've lived here all my life and the crazies never cease to amaze me.

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