Posted April 23, 2020
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public input this afternoon on whether to continue allowing commercial dredging along the Missouri River.
Commercial dredging is a process companies use to collect sand and gravel from rivers and then use those materials for concrete, asphalt and masonry products.
Six companies, including Holliday Sand & Gravel Company, which has a plant in Shawnee, are requesting the Army Corps re-issue dredging permits for an additional five years along the lower Missouri River.
Whitney Wilson, WaterOne board member, said she has concerns with commercial dredging.
“…the 2017 Army Corps and MARC report shows the MO riverbed has been degraded in the Kansas City reach of the river. This is causing damage to our infrastructure and at the end of the day, this affects the taxes we pay,” she said.
Wilson also said she was worried the public hearing may go unnoticed by Johnson County residents whose immediate attention is on the safety and well-being of their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ordinarily, the public might want to weigh in on this subject; however, I don’t think many are aware this hearing is going on,” she said.
In a public notice about the upcoming webinar, Army Corps staff reported that the continuance of commercial dredging “may alter” other projects, including the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project, and federal projects under the Missouri River Recovery Program.
Furthermore, a May 2017 study and report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District (USACE), and the Mid-America Regional Council, indicated that commercial dredging as well as the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project could be contributing to degradation of the Missouri River bed.
Investments and repairs to improve bed degradation of the Missouri River were estimated to cost $269 million in fiscal year 2017 dollars, according to that report.
The public hearing takes place via webinar at 3 p.m. today. To access the webinar and online presentation, visit https://www.teleconference.att.com/servlet/AWMlogin and use meeting number 844-721-7241 or access code 8168679, as prompted.
To follow the audio of the presentation, call 844-721-7241, and use access code 8168679. Comments may be emailed by May, 2, 2020, to Matt Shively at email@example.com.