Engineer hopes to see dredging project continue at ChamberlainAlthough a few piles of soil and sediment still remain, Chamberlain City Engineer Greg Powell said he’s pleased with the results of a dredging project at American Creek that ended earlier this year. He’s eager to see work on the creek continue. “It’s a big improvement,” Powell said. “We’re trying.”
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
CHAMBERLAIN — Although a few piles of soil and sediment still remain, Chamberlain City Engineer Greg Powell said he’s pleased with the results of a dredging project at American Creek that ended earlier this year.
He’s eager to see work on the creek continue.
“It’s a big improvement,” Powell said. “We’re trying.”
Beginning in 2008, state and city funds have been devoted to improving American Creek, which drains into the Missouri River from the east near a popular campground and marina in Chamberlain. Since then, 40,000 yards of material has been dredged from the creek at a cost of approximately $300,000. The majority of the project’s funding came from the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks, with the city of Chamberlain providing $50,000.
The project was implemented to extend boating and fishing capabilities at the creek, since an annual drop in Missouri River water levels often turns portions of the creek into exposed mud.
Not only is the site a popular fishing area, but it also includes a boat ramp that sees high traffic.
“We have some people that want to recreate in August, September and early October,” Powell said. “We were trying to get this cleaned out so boaters could continue to use it.”
Despite the intentions of the project, Powell said the project initially elicited some negative reaction from residents.
“When we started it, there were people that said it was the dumbest thing they’d ever seen the city of Chamberlain undertake,” Powell said. “Now, people walk around saying, ‘That is the best project you’ve ever undertaken.’ ”
The dredging process only involved part of the creek, Powell said, a plan that some residents may not have been aware of. Although he admits that the visible piles of sediment on the east end of the creek were unexpected, he said plans are under way to remove the mud — most likely with a long-range excavator.
Because the initial dredging project removed only the budgeted 40,000 yards of material, Powell estimates dredging is still needed for 55,000 additional yards. That additional project could cost more than $300,000.
Funds aren’t currently available for that specific project, but work on the creek continues. A city loader was spreading dirt on the southern shore of the creek Thursday, where a sidewalk and floating pier for children eventually will be installed.
The city also plans to authorize Jeremy Thomas Construction to remove 300 to 400 yards of material under the American Creek Bridge at a cost of $16,850.
During the dredging project earlier this year, small pieces of rebar and concrete disrupted the dredging process, and Powell is eager to see the debris cleared to ensure boater safety.
“We’re trying to eliminate this bottleneck,” Powell said. “If they put their boat in, I don’t want them to hit a high spot under that bridge.”
The material removed from the dredging project was pumped south of the creek’s eastern shore. Once it dries, Powell hopes to see the area become a parking lot and picnic area.
As work continues on the creek, Powell said he’s been encouraged by the area’s changes, especially by the 90-foot-long concrete fishing pier constructed last year, which has allowed better handicapped access to the river.
“That’s what you do this stuff for,” Powell said. “Even if everybody thought you were stupid when you started, it makes it worthwhile.”
Continued work on the creek is especially important to attracting visitors to Chamberlain, Powell said.
“We’re trying to make the access better for people,” Powell said. “We really have to focus on the river and those things that sell for us.”