Potential reuse opportunity for Niobrara River sediment topic of MSAC’s annual meeting March 29

(Springfield) – Reservoir managers around the nation face questions of how to address sediment accumulation which reduces water storage capacities. A recent U.S. Geological Survey report may shed light on a potential reuse opportunity for sediment found in the Niobrara River.

The Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition invites the public to attend its annual meeting at 11 a.m., March 29, in Yankton to learn more about this recent report. The Niobrara River is responsible for up to 3 million tons or 60 percent of the sediment filling Lewis and Clark Lake annually behind Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River. Finding a reuse for the sediment could potentially help offset the costs associated with removal.

In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Nebraska Water Science Center (NWSC) in Lincoln in cooperation with the Midwest Region Initiative on Natural Sources of Frac Sand, began a study to determine whether sediment found in the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers had properties similar to the sand used as a proppant for hydraulic fracking in unconventional oil and gas development. Nathan Schaepe, a NWSC hydrologist, will be the featured speaker focusing on this report which was just released in November.

Schaepe was one of the contributors to the report entitled: “Suitability of river delta sediment as proppant, Missouri and Niobrara Rivers, Nebraska and South Dakota, 2015.” Other contributors included Ronald Zelt, Christopher Hobza, Bethany Burton and Nadine Piatak.

Schaepe earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla and has been working for USGS since 2005. He is responsible for managing the USGS National Water Quality Network surface water activities in Nebraska and has been involved in many other surface-water water-quality and sediment studies mainly pertaining to the Niobrara and Platte Rivers in Nebraska. His project work includes: GIS analysis of stream geomorphology, stream bed and suspended-sediment collection and analysis, continuous water-quality monitoring, and stream ecological assessments.

The Nebraska Water Science Center’s mission is: “to lead, innovate, and excel in hydrologic monitoring, investigations, research, and data delivery for Nebraska.”

The March 29 meeting will begin at 11 a.m. and will be held in the event room at The Landing, 104 Capital Street, Yankton. MSAC will provide an update on its recent activities and hold elections for two Board of Director member positions whose terms are expiring: Tim Cowman, representing Class I (government) and Jeff Peters, representing Class II (organizations). At approximately, 1:15 pm the Board of Director members will have a regular meeting. The public is invited to both meetings. An on-your-own lunch break will take place between the meetings beginning at approximately 12:30 pm.

MSAC, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, invites its members and anyone interested in sustaining the Missouri River reservoirs and system benefits to attend the meeting. Membership and contribution information can be found at www.msaconline.com. Follow MSAC on Facebook.