Dredging Opposition

Nine hundred people have petitioned the federal Army Corps of Engineers in opposition to a proposed plan for managing spoils and materials dredged from the Mississippi River in the Wabasha and Alma areas.

Mayor Jim Wilkie of Alma, and Mayor Rollin Hall of Wabasha, initiated a petition drive to “Save Our Towns” by urging the Corps of Engineers to change its plan.

A 40-year management plan that was drafted by the St. Paul District of the Army Corps of Engineers called for buying farmland in Wabasha and Buffalo counties for permanent disposal of dredged sand.
River sand dumped at stockpile sites would be trucked to disposal properties along residential areas in Wabasha, Nelson and Alma.

The petition says the volume of dump trucks hauling sand to disposal sites would disrupt the area’s peak tourism business months and create intolerable dust and noise for residential properties.
Alma council members said it made more sense for the Corps of Engineers to ship dredged sand on barges to places where it was needed.

The Corps is charged with keeping the river channel dredged to a depth that makes it navigable for towboat commerce.
Wilkie said officials planned to meet Oct. 12 in Wabasha to present their case and petition to a major general for the Army Corps of Engineers.

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