Digging Out Lakewood Sandbar | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 5/23/2012
Crews have already started removing the plug in Lakewood Harbor. What hasn`t begun is dredging out the sandbar that piled up at the mouth of the inlet. Until it`s removed, Lakewood residents can`t access the Missouri River.
"We`re hopeful that we`re going to get on the river for our members and our association a lot quicker than we had anticipated before today," said Daryl Splichal, president of the board of directors for the Lakewood Homeowners Association.
And they will. Initially the Corps didn`t want to give the association a permit to dredge out a sandbar because Fish and Wildlife was worried that dredging would pose an adverse affect to the critical habitat of piping plovers, which is already an endangered bird. But at the meeting, a different conclusion was reached.
"We did not know that the area would be deemed as an area not having an adverse impact. That was great news for us tonight," Splichal said.
"It all depends on if there`s a lot of habitat and your impact`s fairly minimal. There just has to be a determination made that it`s not to the point where it`s gonna endanger those birds," said Toni Erhardt, project manager with the Corps.
Now that dredging the sandbar has proven not to hurt the habitat of piping plovers, the Corps can move forward with informal consultation, a much shorter process than many homeowners were expecting.
"I think in general, the representatives here did a great job of explaining what the course of action will be going forward," said Jason Kirchmeier, a Lakewood resident.
Many Lakewood homeowners would like to see the Corps or the state pick up some of the cost for digging out the sandbar. As of now, the $175,000 cost sits with the homeowners. The Corps says it will have the paperwork in place to begin digging out the sandbar in about two weeks. After that, it`ll take crews about another two weeks to dredge out the sandbar.