KANSAS CITY, Mo.— The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District has completed the Record of Decision for proposed commercial dredging permits on the Kansas River. Five applicants have received proposed permits to extract sand and gravel from the river by hydraulic dredging. The Corps regulates the proposed dredging under the authority of Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.
The permits would authorize the annual commercial dredging of up to 1.9 million total tons of aggregate from the river over the next five years, in compliance with the revised Regulatory Plan and special conditions minimizing and mitigating project-related impacts to the Kansas River. If accepted, commercial dredging permits for the Kansas River will be issued to Kaw Valley Companies, Inc., Holliday Sand and Gravel Company, and Masters Dredging in the Kansas City-Lawrence, Kansas area and Builders Choice Aggregates and LBB, LLC near Topeka, Kansas.
Permitting involved a decision about whether the proposed work should be allowed to continue, be restricted in the amount or location and what other conditions are appropriate for the performance of this work. The Corps’ decisions to continue permitting commercial dredging on the Kansas River involve various levels of review, normally completed on a five-year cycle. An Environmental Impact Statement began in 2015 for the most recent review cycle.
The final EIS for Kansas River Commercial Dredging was published in October 2017. In the EIS, the Corps evaluated the potential impacts of the work on the Kansas River. The Corps conducted an assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed and alternative actions, resulting in a decision that balances benefits and impacts of the work, protects our nation’s aquatic resources, and that is not contrary to the public interest. The ROD identifies both the Environmentally Preferred Alternative and Agency Preferred Alternative for the proposed work, which were selected from all the alternatives carried forward for analysis in the final EIS.
Commercial dredging for sand and other aggregate materials from the Kansas River has taken place for at least the past 100 years. The total annual extraction quantity of aggregate materials from the river was not broadly limited until 1990, when the previous EIS was completed by the Corps. Since that time, total extraction limits have ranged from a high of 4.7 million tons, to more recently, a 2.2 million ton annual limit. Total extraction limits represent the maximum amount of aggregate that can take place, but on average, the actual annual extraction
since 1991 has ranged between 88% and 23% of that limit. Total extraction in any given year by a given company can be quite variable and is dependent upon fundamental supply, demand, and other market driven factors and river conditions.
Under the proposed new permits, five commercial dredging companies would be authorized to extract up to a combined total of 1.9 million tons of aggregate per year from the Kansas River for the next five years. They are required to adhere to the special conditions of the permit authorizations, including compliance with the revised Regulatory Plan. The river bed will continue to be monitored every two years during the permit period by completion of channel cross-section surveying and data from those surveys will be used as part of the Regulatory Plan and for reevaluation prior to the issuance of any future permits for this type of dredging work.
The EIS, ROD and revised Regulatory Plan can be found online at: