Missouri River Dredging Projects | VideoAlex Hagan | 11/17/2012
Snow is starting to pile up along the marinas on the Missouri River as boaters start to pack up for the winter.
"A lot of boats have water in them when the water freezes. It expands and causes damage so we take it out and get it drained out and cleared out," said Tim Moritz of Moritz Sport and Marine.
As they gear up for freezing temperatures on the river, so is the state`s water commission. Dredging is getting under way on both the Mandan and Bismarck sides of the river. The process involves removing water from underneath the river.
"We`re reestablishing what was there before last years flood and then with the new mouth of the Heart, we`d be deepening the channel in some area," said Bruce Engelhardt with the State Water Commission.
This is the first time the commission has started a project like this. Last year`s flood formed sandbars above the water level that could cause ice jam flooding during the winter time.
"Once the ice jam starts forming, the water goes up a lot faster than it would just from any runoff," Engelhardt said.
The dredging will allow storm water to run into the river on the Bismarck side. State water employees say the project prepares them for the winter.
"Ice jams are very difficult to predict and both their formation they had when they will clear out and so it`s a lot harder to prepare for them," Engelhardt said.
Boaters say no matter what is done on the river, it won`t effect recreation this spring.
"The river changes weekly it seems and when it goes up, new sandbars go down and when it goes down, new sandbars come up," Moritz said.
The project is expected to be completed at the end of the month. State water employees say the project is expected to cost around $500,000.