The sediment collected in most dredging operations must be carefully collected and stored at a waste site because it’s contaminated. But what are the possibilities if the sediment collected isn’t contaminated, perhaps enhancing an area for wildlife and recreation?
"There are approximately five acres of pond here and we’re looking to have some emergence wetlands coming to submerged wetland areas with some open channel areas for diversity," said Ken Podsiadlo, Buffalo District Army Corps of Engineers project manager.
The plan being developed is to use sediment being dredged from the Buffalo River to invigorate the Squaw Island area.
"Right now it’s anywhere from 14 to 16 feet deep. It’s stagnant. The plan is to put a weir on the breakwater to tie it in and connect it with the river and have a better flow of the water between the river and the pond and that will help enhance the wildlife," said Podsiadlo.
Improving the flow should improve the water quality and bring in wildlife such as diving ducks, dabbling ducks, tern and gulls for example. But success depends on contaminant free sediment.
"This will be sediments that are in the bottom of the Buffalo River that will be dredged and right now we believe that will be clean material, however there with be confirmatory sampling that will take place to analyze that material for any contamination before any beneficial use takes place," Podsiadlo said.
With successful testing and fund raising, the project could be complete by September of 2017.