Posted on December 18, 2023
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY (WQOW) – An ambitious project is underway on the Eau Claire River.
Lake Altoona collects sediment at a rate the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources calls “extremely high.” This means that if nothing is done, it would take between 25-35 years for the lake to become a marsh rather than a reservoir that helps keep downtown Eau Claire safe from flooding.
One of the ways the Lake Altoona district fights the high sediment rate is through dredging the Eau Claire River, which feeds into the lake. This year — due to extra money in the budget — the district will be removing twice the usual amount of sediment from the river.
“They have to build the sand road,” Margaret Higley, the secretary for the Lake Altoona district, said. “First thing they have to do is to take sand and build the road that they’re using to get out here. Then they had to build the road down the river and then they take the sand out and then when they’re all done they take the road out.”
This year’s dredging aims to remove 60,000 cubic yards of sand from the river. That’s equivalent to filling a three-story building as big as a football field. Higley said the lake has become deeper since they started dredging the river a couple years ago.
The $400,000 project should take nearly a month to complete.