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Archive for Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Businesses hope to increase dredging along Kansas River; environmentalists warn that process is destructive

November 15, 2011

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Dredging proposal public notice ( .PDF )

Several area companies hope to increase the amount of sand and gravel dredged from the Kansas River by 1 million tons per year.

But before that happens, the public has the opportunity to weigh in.

Kaw dredging proposal

• Currently, five companies are authorized to dredge 2.2 million tons annually from 10 locations on the river. That permit expires at the end of 2012.

• Under the new proposal, which would run for five years, the same companies are asking for dredging authorization for 13 sites and 3.2 million tons annually.

• The proposed sites span an 80-mile stretch of the river, from Shawnee County to Wyandotte County, including Douglas County.

• The companies seeking permits are Kaw Valley Companies, Holliday Sand & Gravel, Penny’s Aggregates, Master’s Dredging, and Meier’s Ready Mix.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency responsible for issuing dredging permits, is accepting public comment until Dec. 9 regarding proposals by five companies for new permits on 13 locations — including several in or near Lawrence — along an 80-mile stretch of the Kansas River, from Shawnee County to Wyandotte County.

The current dredging permit, which expires at the end of 2012, authorizes five companies to dredge 2.2 million tons annually from 10 sites. The new proposals, by the same five companies, seek to increase the tonnage dredged to 3.2 million. If a new permit is issued, it will run from 2013 to the end of 2017.

Environmental advocates, including Friends of the Kaw, say the increase is detrimental to the water supply and natural habitats in the area.

“River dredging is very destructive, and the cumulative effects are not in the public interest,” said Laura Calwell, representative for Friends of the Kaw, a local environmental advocacy group. “Dredging stirs up sediments and industrial pollutants that threaten our drinking water.”

Calwell said her group has advocated for a decrease and eventual stop to dredging on the river, or, at the very least, no increase to the current tonnage limits.

Kale Horton, with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City Regulatory Office, said the decision process for the permits will take place over the next year, and could include adjustments to the tonnage limits requested by the companies.

“It’s a back and forth,” said Horton, who encouraged citizens to contact his office to comment.

Horton can be contacted by email at kale.e.horton@usace.army.mil, or by phone at 816-389-3656.

Comments

Joe Blackford II 2 years, 5 months ago

Send it back upstream . . . . our Manhattan pols will need to have something to bury their heads in when the NBAF's germs escape . . . .

You Larryvillians do know the excess NBAF stormwater runoff will be pumped up hill to the North; East to the Big Blue & downstream to you, don't you? This will be done safely, according to:

http://www.travispruitt.com/portfolio_tab/PublicPortfolio/DHS-Bio&AgroDefenseFacility.html

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Blessed4x 2 years, 5 months ago

I think for every two tons removed from the river, one ton should be donated to the Friends of the Kaw for their use to do with as they see fit. They can just deposit the sand/gravel in the driveways of the FotK officers. That way the river gets a little maintenance, the dredging companies get some sand and the FotK members have a surplus of material to do with as they wish. Everyone is happy. Well...as long as the FotK officers have REALLY long driveways and a use for a half a million tons of sand/gravel.

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cheeseburger 2 years, 5 months ago

Go to the bridge north of Eudora and look south and see how much sand has been deposited in the middle of the river. It would seem to me that dredging that sand would allow the river to flow more normally, and not force the water to either side of the sand bar, causing further erosion to the river banks.

Of course Calwell and her cronies wouldn't want logic to get in the way of their skewed views.

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ksengineer 2 years, 5 months ago

The state collects a $0.15 per ton royalty for sand removed from the river in addition to the applicable sales tax when it is sold. I don't believe the corps charges a fee for the permit, but they can require extensive measures to protect the waterway. This could include mitigation or payment of "damages."

The following is a little dated, but an interesting (if you like this sort of thing) study of the KS River Corridor.

http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Publications/KR/index.html

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JayhawkFan1985 2 years, 5 months ago

How much does a permit cost the businesses? And how much do they sell this publicly owned resource for? Perhaps a public private partnership is in order whereby these businesses could be issued a permit in exchange for them restoring wetlands along the river.

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