Dredging project at Conewango Creek held up by mussels

A project to dredge a portion of the Conewango Creek by the Third Street Bridge has been held up by endangered mussels.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said that the “sediment is a pretty good size” in that area.

“That’s a pretty significant permit,” Holtz said.

Holtz said Yurisic continues to work on the permit and Yurisic said they have “run into issues with the Fish and Wildlife Service” over the endangered mussels.

“Permitting is a challenge to say the least,” Yurisic said. “(It) takes a while to get a permit.”

Holtz explained that sediment buildup during the summer months can restrict the Conewango to “two or three little waterways” which “doesn’t do the fish any good. They need to make sure… the water flows through.”

He also explained that sediment buildup can result in bridge scouring – when water continues to hit concrete, it deteriorates it.

“When (you) have bad sediments or a bad gravel bar, (there is) worse scouring,” Holtz said.

Yurisic said that sediment buildup with moderate water levels can result in trees getting hung up. With more debris and higher water, he said the debris can get stuck in the bridge openings and “can cause potential problems.”

Holtz said that the dredging project is likely to cost between $20,000 and $40,000.

“I suspect we’ll try to dredge it next year,” Holtz said.

“That’s the goal,” Yurisic said. If we get a permit.”

“That’ll be a nice project,” Holtz said. “It needs some help.”

Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies. It is a routine necessity in waterways around the world because sedimentation–the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream–gradually fills channels and harbors.