Corps Gets Earful about
by Associated Press
CLARKSTON, Wash. -- Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, trying to find a solution to sediment building up in Lower Granite Reservoir, heard suggestions at a public meeting that ranged from dam breaching to increasing the size of levees.
"We want to identify as many different ways as we can to manage sediment in addition to dredging," Carl Christianson, project leader for the corps at Walla Walla, told about 60 people who attended the Thursday meeting.
Sediment building up in the reservoir has reduced the freeboard - the space between the top of levees and the water at highest flows - to about 2 feet.
The levee system around Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston was intended to have 5 feet of freeboard.
A study by the corps found that increasing the height of the Lewiston levee by 3 feet would reduce the risk of flood.
But some at the meeting were concerned that raising the levees would only lead to more sediment in the reservoir before officials faced the same problems they are now dealing with.
"It shouldn't even be on the table," said Jerry Klemm, a retired mill worker from Lewiston.
Jeff Nessett, Lewiston's mayor, said calling the idea of raising levees unpopular "an understatement."
The reservoir traps about 3 million cubic yards of sediment each year, enough to cover three square miles a foot deep.
Dick Wittman, a farmer from Culdesac, suggested that tree plantings and modern logging could be put in place to reduce the amount of sediment entering the reservoir, The Lewiston Tribune reported.
"I challenge you to take the money you are going to spend studying and use it to implement (the measures)," he said.
Jim Bradford of Lewiston told officials that the agency might discover it would be cheaper to breach the dams if the cost of dealing with the sediment were studied.
"You have to recognize you have a waterway that is a giant subsidy," he said.
Sam Mace of Save our Wild Salmon Coalition said money not spent on sediment problems could be used to improve railroad lines and take the place of river navigation to move products.
But David Doeringsfeld, manager for the Port of Lewiston, said the study being undertaken by the corps had as a goal making sure barges could continue running between Lewiston and the mouth of the Snake River.
Corps of Engineers Gets Earful about Sediment Problems by Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune, 2/16/7
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