The urgency is here today to address sedimentation at Lewis and Clark Lake for the Cedar Knox Rural Water Project. The project treats lake water and distributes it to 900 rural customers and four Nebraska communities, of Crofton, Fordyce, St. Helena and Obert. The intake sits on the floor of the lake channel. If the current course continues, staff expect that the advancing sediment may reach the intake in less than 15 years. That time could diminish faster each year of flooding. Listen to Annette Sudbeck, general manager of the Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District, of Hartington, Nebraska, and water project staff Scott Fiedler, project manager, and Cope Clark, plant operator, about the difficulties sedimentation poses for getting people water at the tap.
Dams on the Missouri River were intended to thwart floods. As we all know that isn’t always the case. Just ask Rick and Mary Hurd who live west of Springfield, South Dakota in Charles Mix County. You just don’t know what kind of hand the river will deal each year when it comes to farming.
Not only is there a sediment accumulation problem going on up in the reservoir, there is also a sediment deficit problem going on below the dam. Listen to Tim Cowman, of the South Dakota Geological Survey, explain what is happening. It’s a problem in slow motion, that will not stop unless something changes. As Cowman, an MSAC Board of Director member says – one of MSAC’s goals is to produce a groundswell of support to help solve the problem.
It’s been called the poster child of sedimentation in the United States. If nothing changes, Lewis and Clark Lake will be half full of sediment by the year 2045. The Missouri Sedimentation Action Coalition wants to change that course to one headed toward reservoir sustainability.
Charlie Gross, past MSAC board member and long-time community contributor in Yankton, tells us about MSAC’s mission and what the area stands to lose if nothing changes.