Thirteen sand dredging sites on the Kansas River are now up for public comment before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These sites comprise of ten existing and three new sites. Five dredging companies (Kaw Valley Companies, Holliday Sand & Gravel, Master’s Dredging, Penny’s and Meier’s Ready Mix) are cumulatively seeking significant expansion which includes the reopening of riverbed sections that were previously closed to dredging due to degradation. In addition, there is a request for an increase in tonnage that the Army Corps will allow to be removed from the river - 3.2 million tons from the current 2.2 million tons.
You Can Help.
Email your public comment by December 9, 2011.
-Download a sample comment at www.kansasriver.org/stopdredging.
-Send your comment to email@example.com. Please also cc to Laura Calwell, our Kansas Riverkeeper, firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to ask the Army Corps for a public hearing.
-Tell the Army Corps that the cumulative, destructive effects of river dredging are not in the public interest.
-Point out that other companies are already pursuing the reasonable and economic alternative of sand pit mining. Their competitive example shows that taking dredges off the Kaw will not increase the price of sand and gravel and will not have negative impacts on jobs or the economy.
FACT: Dredging damages our drinking water source and raises treatment costs. Dredging stirs up sediments and industrial pollutants that are expensive for municipal treatment plants to remove from drinking water. Over 600,000 Kansas draw drinking water from the Kaw (for example, one-third of Johnson County and all of Topeka). Three major municipal intakes draw water directly from the river and several more municipalities draw water from wells near the river.
FACT: Dredging causes erosion to private property and government infrastructure. Scientific studies show that when sand is removed from a prairie river like the Kaw, the river seeks to fill the holes by carving away soil from the riverbanks. This erosion damages valuable farmland, wildlife habitat and taxpayer-funded infrastructure like flood control measures, bridges and roads.
FACT: Dredging rigs and cables put recreational river users at increased risk. Since 2003, eight communities have increased the number of river access points and parks along the Kaw from three to thirteen, and river tourism is increasing. Dredging is not worth the risk to other river users.
“When other local sand operations have already made a reasonable and economic shift to pit mines, there’s no reason to risk the public welfare with river dredging.” – Laura Calwell, Kansas Riverkeeper