'Don't let your beautiful lake disappear,' says new consultant
A dredging study is on the way after the Storm Lake City Council gave an unofficial go-ahead to a long-time dredging expert yesterday.
The city met with representatives of Buena Vista County and the Lake Preservation Association during a work session on dredging following a Storm Lake City Council meeting Monday.
Those gathered listened to Jim Ganske, a 71-year-old dredging consultant, describe projects he has worked on and what he envisions for Storm Lake's future. "You certainly have an enormous project, but it's certainly worth doing," he said. "You have a beautiful lake - you can't let that disappear."
Most recently Ganske has advised Emmetsburg on the Five Island Lake project. He is also the consultant for dredging efforts at Lake Panorama near Panora.
Initially, Ganske suggested a project to remove 20 million cubic yards over a 10 to 12 year period at a cost of 50 cents per cubic yard. A project like that would deepen Storm Lake to about 12 feet - the minimum Ganske suggested for the lake's continued survival.
The dredging expert got his start in dredging at his home of Sleepy Eye, Minn., as president of the Jaycees. Ganske spearheaded a major dredging project there, and now has been involved "in every lake project in the upper Midwest since that time," he said.
He said if nothing is done now to Storm Lake, weed growth and siltation would see two feet more depth lost within 50 years.
Getting a dredging project started can be difficult, Ganske said, because people are uncertain of what a dredging project actually means. "Wherever I go, people are apprehensive and scared about dredging because they just don't understand it," he said.
"Dredging is no different than a guy combining a section of soybeans - it's that simple. Anyone who can run a combine can run a dredge."
Wide support, private and public, is needed, he said.
"I'm interested to see that the county is so interested in this with you," he told city council members.
Ideally, he said, a department of dredging would be formed under local government, with a locally owned and operated dredge.
"The only way to do it economically is to form a dredging department under the city or county or both," he said.
Five Island Lake dredging at Emmetsburg has been successful because it has drawn on strong local support as well as state and federal dollars, Ganske said. U.S. Senator Tom Harkin was able to secure a federal appropriation of $1 million for that project.
A local project would also keep costs down, Ganske said. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources dredging project set to go this spring costs approximately $2.67 cents per cubic yard of silt removed, while Emmetsburg has kept costs to about 55 cents per cubic yard of silt removed on Five Island Lake.
Much of that has to do with volume, Ganske noted. About 1.8 million cubic yards is set to be removed from Storm Lake this spring. Up that amount, Ganske said, and the costs per cubic yard start to come down.
Ganske toured the lake yesterday afternoon with members of the LPA. Along the way he said he has noticed a number of potential spoil sites. And unlike what many thought, Ganske said depressional areas are ideal.
"With a natural depression, you just build walls around it," he said. "I always look for the biggest hole in the ground we can find."
He said the section of land the city bought east of the municipal golf course is a "tough site" to design into a spoil site. "You'd need to dig it out and build 20-foot walls," he said. "It's not a mistake you got it, it has people excited, but it costs more to engineer."
He said the community needs to determine what it wants to do over time, including any referendums and bond issues as well as how much it wants to spend annually on dredging.
For between $3,500 and $4,500 Ganske will proceed with a dredging plan for Storm Lake. The city will discuss funding the study at a future meeting, while the LPA already pledged financial support for the plan.
City council members were interested in a dredging study by Ganske.
"We have everything to gain and nothing to lose," said Storm Lake Mayor Jon Kruse. "The consensus of the council here is we need to get going."
In other news:
* The city awarded Godberson-Smith of Ida Grove the contract for the 2002 Street Improvement Project. The base bid from that company was $1,071,884.33.
The bid cane in under the cost estimate of approximately $1.3 million.
The project includes the reconstruction of the south half of North Lake Avenue, from Milwaukee to just south of 12th Street, and the replacement of several water mains along the route. The other portion of the project is for replacing Shoreway Road/West 4th Street from Northwestern Drive to Barton Street.
* The snow parking ban has been lifted, effective immediately, for all streets in Storm Lake.