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marksullivan

warrord chanel

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Has anyone ever heard of the Corps dredging the chanel this winter. If so does anyone know what time of the year or dates it is to be done. Rumer has it they will be doing it sometime this winter.

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That's the word on the street although I haven't heard anything official on the radio or read anything in the paper about it either. Not sure when things will get under way with that project.

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It may start about the second week in March using backhoes and dump trucks on the ice.

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On the way into work this morning, the radio played a segment on this.

The army Corp of Engineers will begin Monday, March 12th. They will start at the jetty and work out towards the lake...about a 100' x 3000' swathe. I believe they said they would like to remove about 18,000 cubic yards of silt and debris. Estimated time to completion is 3-4 weeks hopefully without any delays.

They said that fisherman & woman will still be able to get access to the lake from the point.

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Veximan: I'm not famaliar with this area of LOW, however I am curious. How do they dredge this time of year? Do they cut the ice in this area so that they can do the work? I would think it would be interesting to watch at least. Thanks, Bill

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Yep, it sounds like they'll cut through the 3' of ice and work from atop the ice. I would assume excavators and a couple trucks...they didn't get into detail on the equipment. It would seem to make the most sense.

The Warroad channel is the mouth of the Warroad River that comes out there by the Casino/Lakeview restaurant.

I might swing up there and view this out of the ordinary task.

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If I wasn't 4 1/2 hours away I would join you. Should be interesting for sure. Bill

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I'll be sure to bring my camera. I need a good reason to learn how to post pics on here...since I don't have any trophies to brag about. grin.gif

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Definitley post some pics if you can. Bill

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Sounds like they are starting 2-3 weeks too late, could be a big run off by then.

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Not to worry, they will then use a river barge with a digging device mounted on the barge and use a conveyer belt to get the muck to shore.One of the army's better tools for tough dredging rivers. They do it all the time on the Mississippi to keep the tug channels open.

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These are from lowrox...

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I hope to get some more shots as they progress. I can't wait to see what 18,000 cubic yards of materials they plan on hauling out of there looks like.

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This was in the Grand Forks Herald and written by Brad Dokken on Friday, I thought it was interesting.

WARROAD, Minn. - Most of the time, massive Lake of the Woods is the main attraction on the waterfront of this northern Minnesota community.

These days, though, it's massive heavy equipment working out on the ice that's turning people's heads.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Warroad are dredging the community's harbor on Lake of the Woods. Recent high water and a flood in 2002 have filled the harbor at the mouth of the Warroad River with sediment - to the point where the channel is difficult to navigate in the summer months.That's where the heavy equipment comes into play. Over the next three weeks or so, workers will be removing 18,000 cubic yards of sediment from the harbor and hauling it to a disposal site in the city campground.

According to Kevin Bluhm, project manager for the Corps of Engineers' St. Paul District, that's about 1,800 dump truck loads - enough to fill two football fields with 3 feet of sediment.

Lakes Area Construction, Williams, Minn., is the project contractor.

Bluhm said the contractors will dredge the channel to a depth of about 7 feet. The primary work area is about 125 wide and 3,000 feet long. The harbor last was dredged in 1996.

“We're pulling between 2 and 3 feet of sediment out of the navigation channel that's been filled in,” Bluhm said. “It's quite a bit of material that's going to get moved.”

The Warroad project also is turning heads because it represents a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly way of dredging.

According to Bluhm, traditional, open-water dredging projects utilize what's known as an “eggbeater” pump, which sucks the sediment and affluent into a pipe that carries it to a site some distance away.

Problem is, Bluhm says, that type of hydraulic dredging is so expensive it's no longer feasible for projects such as the one now under way in Warroad. The costly technique was used during the last dredging project in 1996.

“There's so much equipment, so much manpower,” Bluhm said. “All that type of work is done out of state now. No one in the state has either the ability or equipment, and bringing all that up from the southern U.S. is just very expensive.”

It's much cheaper, he says, to bring the heavy equipment onto the ice and cut big holes to access the sediment.

And with ice measuring anywhere from 36 inches to 46 inches, conditions are perfect, Bluhm said.

“My background is economics, and with this alternative, we're about 10 percent the price of what a hydraulic operation would cost,” Bluhm said. “Instead of close to $1 million, we're (spending) less than $100,000.”

The Corps pays for the entire project, using money Congress set aside specifically for the dredging, Bluhm said.

How it works

To remove the sediment, construction crews are using two huge backhoe machines. The smaller backhoe has a pointed bucket that shaves through the ice. The larger backhoe has a “mud bucket” that scoops the sediment into one of the waiting dump trucks.

The smaller backhoe weighs about 15 tons, and the larger machine weighs 20 tons, Bluhm said. Throw in the weight of dump trucks filled with sediment, and there's a lot of weight out the ice, which in many places is frozen right to the bottom.

As a safety measure, workers position all of the equipment at a 90-degree angle to the hole to minimize the risk in case the ice accidentally breaks, Bluhm said.

“The interesting thing is the ice does move,” he said. “It does crack when you're out there. Even though it's 3 feet thick, you're always a little uneasy, and that's good. It keeps your guard up.”

The ice also minimizes the environmental impact on adjacent vegetation and other fish habitat because there's less water to get stirred up. The technique had to pass an environmental assessment before the project could begin, Bluhm said.

“This is definitely the least environmentally damaging - mostly because it's a contained area,” Bluhm said.

Bluhm says the Warroad project marks the first time the Corps has used an on-the-ice process for dredging.

“It's a different process, and that's what brings most of the spectators out there,” he said. “We're getting quite a bit of local interest.”

The project also is attracting attention from Corps officials across the northern United States because of its cost-savings potential, Bluhm said.

“It's a pretty simple operation, but given the context for it, it's pretty interesting,” he said.

Working through the ice also minimizes the impact on ice fishing and other winter recreation, Bluhm said; people still can access the lake.

By comparison, he said, hydraulic dredging in open water would have tied up the harbor and kept boats from accessing the lake.

The pace of the spring thaw will dictate whether workers finish the project yet this winter, Bluhm said. So far, the contractors are working nine- to 10-hour days, six days a week. Rain would be the worst scenario, Bluhm said, because it would weaken the ice and accelerate melting.

“We're making progress,” Bluhm said. “If the weather holds, we should be able to get 2,000 more feet done into the lake and take out some of the real filled-in areas.

“We're really hopeful we'll be able to come up with a good result that everybody's happy with.”

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