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Kansas Water Office and Partners Celebrate Start of John Redmond Reservoir Dredging

In May, Great Lakes 22-inch electric dredge LP start-ed work at the John Redmond Reservoir in Kansas.

In May, Great Lakes 22-inch electric dredge LP start-ed work at the John Redmond Reservoir in Kansas.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. on May 17 to ceremoniously direct the official dredging of the John Redmond Reservoir to begin, a much-needed project to restore storage capacity at the reservoir and water supply for the long term. The Great Lakes 22-inch electric dredge LP started work at the reservoir in May.

The ability to store water in the reservoir is critical to maintain future supply since it is the source, through a contract with the Kansas Water Office, to 19 communities and six industrial users.

The project is the first of its kind with a non-federal entity dredging sediment from a Corps reservoir for the purpose of ensuring water sup-ply storage. The Kansas Water Office said the project’s 408 Request was something that hadn’t been done before. 

Stan Ekren, director business development, River and Lakes Division, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC, said the project is unique for a number of reasons. Great Lakes’ con-tract with the state is a Design-Dredge project, awarded in July 2013. All the permitting and design work was a joint effort between the Kansas Water Office, GLDD and its sub-contractor EBH. “The joint effort provided the necessary framework to acquire all state and federal permits required through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” Ekren said.

At the ceremony for the John Redmond Reservoir dredging project, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Kansas Water Office, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Corp. and state officials to commemorate the start of the project, which will restore water supply storage capacity at the federal reservoir. From left to right, those visible within the picture are Arlin Meats, chairman, Coffey County Commission; Stan Luke, Mayor of Burlington, Kansas; Mark Petterson, Mayor of New Strawn, Kansas; Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter, (at podium) Col. Richard Pratt, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Lowry Crook; Kansas Water Authority Chairman Gary Harshberger, Kansas Water Office Assistant Director Earl Lewis; Kansas Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary Susan Metzger; Kansas Water Office, Redmond Dredging Project Manager Matt Unruh.

He also said the confined disposal facilities (CDFs) have been de-signed and built on private agricultural land, and the plan is to return the property to its prior use. The one CDF built on Corps property was used for agriculture, and under the plan that area will return back to native grasses. 

Since 1964, John Redmond has lost an estimated 42 percent of its conservation pool storage capacity, 80 percent more than originally projected by the Corps at the time of construction. While there have been many short and midterm  alternatives to reduce sediment or increase storage through streambank restoration projects and a two-foot pool raise and reallocation, these efforts alone will not remedy the effects of the sedimentation rate.

“The Kansas Water Office’s data indicated sedimentation would hinder our ability to meet  the demand for water in the region,” said Col. Richard A. Pratt, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District. “We are pleased with  the cooperation between our agencies as we are committed to delivering enduring and essential water resource solutions to meet demand.”

In 2012, the state of Kansas started the planning process to conduct a large-scale dredging project at John Redmond Reservoir to restore water supply capacity at the federal reservoir. The Kansas Water Office has completed a Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). On February 25, the Tulsa District issues a Finding of No Significant Impact (FON-SI) on the SEA and the three CDFs evaluated within the reservoir.

At a ceremony commemorating the event, the Governor shared his thoughts for the necessity of this project. “The drought of 2012 showed the critical importance of John Redmond Reservoir to the region,” Gov. Brownback said. “Dredging is a significant step in achieving the goals of our 50-Year Water. 

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