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Friday, January 9th, 2009

County provides spot to dump lake dredge material

By Nancy Allen

State park workers move dirt Thursday to build a dredge material relocation area. . .

Mercer County commissioners Thursday morning viewed a 15-acre, county-owned parcel on which dredge material from a portion of Beaver Creek will be placed.
This is only the second time the county has partnered with the state to allow the use of county land for what the state calls a dredge material relocation area, or DMRA, said Brian Miller, assistant manager of Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.
The importance of the agreement isn't lost on Miller, he said.
"The biggest hurdle we fight is finding a place to put the material and finding a cooperative landowner to let us build a DMRA," Miller said of any lake dredging. "It always comes down to, 'where do we go with the stuff.' "
The state is permitted to dredge state waters for navigational safety purposes only. The Beaver Creek DMRA is located on Montezuma-Cassella Road just west of the Montezuma-Club Island sewer treatment plant.
The project calls for dredging more than 4,000 feet of Beaver Creek from where it enters the lake, south to the state Route 219 bridge at the Catholic church in Montezuma. The job will likely start this spring and take until fall to complete, Miller said.
Currently state workers are using a bulldozer and excavator to push dirt into a four-sided dike structure to hold the lake sediment. The earthen dike will have a control structure that lets water drain into the creek while retaining the sediment, he said.
Funds to build the DMRA are coming from the state park's regular annual dredging budget.
Years ago the county allowed the state to build a DMRA on some of its property south of Montezuma east of Lakefield Airport. That DMRA has long since been torn down and is now farmed.
Miller noted that lake sediment is some of the most fertile material for growing crops.
State workers also want to dredge Coldwater Creek from where it enters the lake to the U.S. 127 bridge. But again, they can't find any landowner willing to allow the use of their land for a DMRA.
"It's been eight plus years since we've dredged that area, which is basically the mouth of that creek," Miller said. "We've been trying to find a site for a Coldwater Creek DMRA for about five years."
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