Ohio company delivers idea for sediment management to combat sediment plaguing Lewis and Clark Lake
Sediment collectors in the Niobrara River could extend the lifespan of Lewis and Clark Lake and provide a clean, marketable commodity adding to the Plan’s economic feasibility and environmental benefits.
Kurtz Bros. Inc. of Independence, Ohio, recently delivered an 11-page project overview to the Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition (MSAC) after five months of exchanges with MSAC and other Missouri River stakeholders.
Jason Ziss, business developer with Kurtz Bros., will be the keynote speaker at MSAC’s 16th Annual Meeting scheduled for 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 7 in Yankton at The Landing Restaurant event room, 104 Capital Street.
Kurtz has been actively pursuing potential sites for a series of collectors. Some of the potential site locations include – one site along Highway 14, three miles from the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri rivers and another, just downstream of Spencer Dam. While nothing has been finalized in where to locate the collectors, close proximity near Highway 12 offers an attractive option to providing borrow material for the future construction of the Highway 12 project. The road project is estimated to cost $215 million with the most recent alternative and requires raising about 12 miles of roadway 14 feet.
Collectors could decrease the amount of sediment coming from the Niobrara River by up to 60 percent, according to preliminary estimates in the report. The Niobrara River contributes an estimated 45 percent of the sediment filling Lewis and Clark Lake.
“Harvesting sediment before it makes its way to Lewis and Clark will extend the reservoir’s lifespan and would be an important step toward making the reservoir sustainable, plus will provide a potential borrow source for the road project,” said Larry Weiss, MSAC president.
This preliminary report provides a starting point for discussions with river stakeholders to identify potential funding sources and markets for the harvested sand along with further defining cost estimates and project feasibility.
After a site visit in September, discussions with engineers and ongoing discussions with agencies and organizations familiar with Lewis and Clark Lake sedimentation problems, Kurtz Bros. developed the draft Sediment Management Plan project overview for the reservoir.
Ziss describes sediment collectors as “speed bumps” in the river. Kurtz Bros. along with Streamside Technology offer this method as a sustainable approach to sediment management which allows the natural energy of the waterway to self-harvest targeted sizes of bedload sediments.
“As bedload tumbling along the bottom of the river passes over an interceptor, the sediment will drop in the open grate hopper and be pumped on shore.
Water from the river is used to flush upward from the bottom of the hopper, raising the sediments, which are drawn with a pump as slurry through a pipe and fed to a screw conveyor on shore.
Sands fall off the end of the screw conveyor through a sorter where it is stacked and made available to the open market as a uniform sand or aggregate,” as stated at kurtz-bros.com/sediment-solutions in its description of sediment collector technology.
Discussions with Kurtz Bros began Aug. 1, 2016, when Ziss telephoned MSAC’s Executive Director Sandy Stockholm. Earlier that day, MSAC hosted a public meeting in Yankton featuring a reservoir sustainability presentation by Brigham Young University researcher Rollin Hotchkiss. Seeing news of the meeting, Ziss wanted to learn more about the sedimentation problems of Lewis and Clark Lake.
Ziss traveled to the Yankton-Niobrara area in September and met with MSAC volunteers and staff to learn more about the area’s sedimentation problems. Ziss said this idea had come a long way in developing a way to address the excessive sedimentation from the Niobrara River.
“While there is much left to do we are now able to present a feasible plan for addressing the sediment that is choking off Lewis and Clark Lake,” he said.
Kurtz concludes in its report that a plan incorporating Streamside Technology’s sediment collectors along with beneficial reuse practices would serve as an effective sediment management plan for the Lewis and Clark Lake. Intercepting the sediment at a bottleneck south of the confluence near Highway 14 and then pumping it about 1 mile to a sediment containment area creates an option that could have a reuse potential almost immediately.
“Such reuse opportunities would include a borrow source for the new Highway 12 project that runs less than a few miles away from the proposed sediment containment site. The Highway 12 project alone could create immediate revenue for collected sediment as well as buy upwards of 1-2 years of additional life at the containment site. This opportunity alone could recoup roughly a quarter of the capital needed on the project,” according to the Kurtz report.
Stockholm said the report and Kurtz Bros. has created a great deal of optimism for Lewis and Clark Lake, which is approximately 30 percent full of sediment and is projected to be 50 percent full by 2045.
“We know there is a long way to go in seeing this idea implemented. However, knowing sediment collectors could provide a method of extending the lifespan of Lewis and Clark Lake and a material that can be reused for other projects gives it a lot of traction,” she said. “Reusing sediment for beneficial uses which right now creates problems for the Niobrara area and fuels delta growth further into the lake, sounds like an incredibly responsible idea to pursue and explore.”
All MSAC members, potential members, and the general public are invited and encouraged to attend the Annual Meeting March 7. The following three individuals on MSAC’s board of directors have terms which are expiring: Larry Weiss, Mary Hurd and Mark Simpson, all at-large members. The public is also invited to the Board of Directors meeting to begin at approximately 1:15 pm March 7 at The Landing.