Saturday, April 4, 2009

SDCA members gather information on Big Sioux banks, water quality

Originally uploaded by Iron Bieso
Two of our club members, Dave and Mary Finck, took part in the East Dakota Water Development District’s April 1 discussion about the Big Sioux River. A speaker from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, along with engineers, presented information on the eroding banks and plans to slow this problem.

Sol Brich of the DENR said a project is underway to add riprap to the toes of certain high banks. Other steep banks will be cut to more gentle slopes, and an effort is underway to get native grasses with deep roots planted on the slopes to fight future erosion. Farmers who own land along the BSR will receive payment for planting these grasses.

Here's a salute to both the East Dakota Water Development District and the DENR for having the meeting. As a club, we value the BSR greatly; we hoping we can support the efforts and spread the word.
Our thanks go out to Dave and Mary for bringing back this information for all of us.

Mary Finck said the discussion included fecal matter contamination in the river.
The native grasses program also includes a component that would help farmers maintain fences to keep livestock away from the river’s edges. With these fences, the grass can grow and reinforce the banks, and less manure close to the river will wash into the water after rains.

The DENR needs help: Photos of banks, feedback from paddlers and landowners, volunteers to support the evaluation of sites, and more volunteers to continue water-monitoring efforts. If you want more information, or would like to find out how to help, call Jay Gilbertson or Roger Strom, both with the East Dakota Water Development District, at (605) 688-6741.

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