Big Steps for Dredging Project

The Shell Rock River Watershed District took a major step forward in its dredging process Monday morning.

The Watershed District’s board of managers approved separate purchase agreements with farmland owners Richard Stadheim for $9,000 an acre, and with Larry Wangen for $7,000 for the location of a confined disposal facility.

The properties are located adjacent to each other, north of Interstate 90 and 1 1/2 miles north of Fountain Lake.

The CDF will be used to manage sediments. A CDF is a dewatering site in the dredging process. When dredging takes place, there will be a mixture of water and sediment pumped to the disposal facility, and the CDF will be used to settle the sediment and siphon off the water.

An embankment will go around the perimeter of the CDF.

Total purchase prices and number of acres involved in the purchases have not been decided. Watershed District officials said they plan on having a better idea once the purchases of the properties are finalized in the next couple weeks.

Director of Field Operations Andy Henschel said the natural layout of the properties will allow natural hillside to be used for some portions of the embankment, and will save the Watershed District money.

“Today was a historic step in advancing the community’s vision for Fountain Lake,” Henschel said. “On a staff level, we have been working towards this goal for a long time. Securing a CDF site is a huge step towards achieving the community’s restoration objective.”

Henschel said the Watershed District plans to finish engineering of the CDF site through spring and early summer, and added that bids for the construction of the CDF are planned to be put out in mid- to late summer.

He said if everything goes right, dredging is projected to start in 2017, and added the length of the project will be vetted out in the project’s bidding process.

Henschel thanked Stadheim and Langen for working with the Watershed District, and said they allowed the Watershed District to move forward with a community vision for the Fountain Lake dredging project.

Treasurer Bruce Haugsdal said the Watershed District still has work to do.

“I have been working on this project for 26 years of my life,” Haugsdal said. “This is a big deal. We need to keep this momentum going.”

At its annual meeting last week, the board of managers approved the engineering of an embankment on the properties and approved a contract with Natural Resources Technology — an engineering firm that specializes in dredging projects — for the engineering of the CDF.

© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007