Archive | November, 2012

Wrap Up: Missouri River Charette

This is a part of a series of posts for attendees and blog visitors interested in the fall 2012 Missouri River Bed Degradation Charette.

Thanks so much to all of the stakeholders and staff that stuck with the charette all of last week. It was, at times, a tedious process, but the outcome was agreement on an abbreviated time and money-saving study. In fact, charette participants committed to a savings of one year and $1.4 million.  Here is an attempt to summarize the outcome.

The team is assuming that the Mobile Bed Model, developed by John Shelley (USACE), will not require any significant modifications upon review, and therefore, it can be used now to model alternative modifications to the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project (BSNP) structures. USACE engineers are developing three scenarios, for modifying the BSNP to attempt to arrest or slow degradation, of which one will rise to the top. The best scenario will then be combined with other potential measures and modeled with a final array of alternatives identified July, 2013. This is the next major milestone for the study. This will be the time for a public and agency scoping meeting.

What does this mean to stakeholders? The abbreviated timeline means that, in order to provide the necessary match for a faster moving PDT, we will have to agree on an expedited fundraising schedule for the $260,000 required in FY 2013. Here are the targets that we’re looking at:

  • January, 2013 — $60,000
  • April, 2013 — $100,000
  • July, 2013 — $100,000

I do have an idea about how we can achieve this and will be in touch with each of you individually to discuss it. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts.

Several of you have asked about availability of presentations from the charette, as well as some of the working documents (ie. decision log). These will be available on the web soon and I will let you know when they are.

Thanks again!

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Day 3: Missouri River Charette

This is a part of a series of posts for attendees and blog visitors interested in the fall 2012 Missouri River Bed Degradation Charette.

You may have noticed that these posts are a day behind, and basically that is because I’m basing the post on the morning recaps that summarize the previous day’s discussions.

Day 3 of the charette (Wednesday) consisted of participants in small groups discussing the next major planning decision – the development of an array of potential solutions. Groups were asked if there were any potential measures to be screened out initially and if any alternatives immediately rose to the top. Four groups reported the following points, summarized and compiled:

There is some dissent among engineers and non-engineers. Some engineers felt comfortable that they could come up with an array of solutions with a bit more time. Others felt that, while the intent of structural solutions can be understood fairly immediately, we don’t know their level of performance or how they will work together – synergistic or in opposition.

Once the model is operational, different solutions can be tested – BSNP adjustments, reduced dredging and other structural solutions. The model will help with answering level-of-performance questions. There is still a lot of work to do. As of now, no alternatives have risen to the top.

There was much discussion about performance measurement – what does success look like? A recognition that a return to pre-degradation levels may not be feasible, but a return to some level of equilibrium might be.

The main efforts for day 4 are focused on development of the decision management plan and the risk register. If you don’t remember – Friday is the other important session for stakeholders to participate in, or at least listen in on, if possible. Otherwise, I’ll post one last entry before the weekend.

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Day 2: Missouri River Charette

This is a part of a series of posts for attendees and blog visitors interested in the fall 2012 Missouri River Bed Degradation Charette.

Day 2 began with PDT members (CORPS technical staff) presenting quick overviews of their work thus far. Most stakeholders have already seen these presentations in even greater detail than they were presented here at the charette. John Shelley presented the mobile bed model and the data that shows degradation as a more recent problem, coinciding with recent flooding and recent increases in dredging.

Alan Schlindwein presented his work studying the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project (BSNP), the series of dikes and other structures constructed to narrow the channel for navigation. Adjusting the BSNP to allow for river widening continues to be a potential solution for degradation.

Brian Kelly, United States Geological Survey (USGS), presented groundwater impacts of degradation. USGS modeling is quantifying these impacts and indicates preliminarily that 93 percent of wetlands in the Kansas City area are showing an increase in depth to groundwater. Essentially, wetlands adjacent to the Missouri River are drying up. Ground water wells are at risk, as are collector wells, where filter packs are shrinking and increasing the potential for contamination.

The remainder of the morning focused on questions and discussions about these PDT presentations. Many of the questions indicated that many participants did not read the materials provided by the local district, so the afternoon was dedicated to examining the summary report, linked here on mobeddeg.org.

The facilitator provided a brief summary of the day’s discussions as follows:

  • Project Re-scoping: Consensus around study scale, and to NOT shift to a watershed study that would include a systems/sediment study.
  • Study Authority: Emphasized 216 authority, which is to study existing federal infrastructure, in this case the BSNP. There was a lot of discussion that clarified to study reviewers that even though local interest is protecting local infrastructure — and the study may look at impacts to local infrastructure — the federal interest does not include modification to local infrastructure.
  • Goal of Study: There was quite a bit of consensus to add to the goal of the study an emphasis on NOT causing adverse impacts down or upstream.
  • Future Without Project: More technical work is needed to determine this.
  • Root Cause of Degradation in Kansas City Reach: Understanding completely the root cause of degradation may not be necessary to develop appropriate solutions.
  • Other Missouri River Studies: Reviewers asked about these other studies. Corps staff is putting together a short list of relevant studies to share.

Here is a link to some cool river model videos that we watched this morning.

Any thoughts?

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Day 1: Missouri River Charette

This is a part of a series of posts for attendees and blog visitors interested in the fall 2012 Missouri River Bed Degradation Charette.

Day 1 consisted of stakeholder presentations from WaterOne of Johnson County, KCP&L, Missouri Department of Transportation, Kansas Water Office, Holliday Sand & Gravel and city of Kansas City, Mo. All presenters communicated very clearly their interests in the study and provided real costs already incurred to modify infrastructure and operations to deal with bed degradation.

After lunch, charette participants took a tour of four sites on the Kansas and Missouri rivers to get a first-hand look at infrastructure impacts.

All participants are encouraged to comment or ask questions in the comment section. So far, it is moving pretty quickly and I’ll try to post another update today.

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Charette Morning Briefings

This is a part of a series of posts for attendees and blog visitors interested in the fall 2012 Missouri River Bed Degradation Charette.

Beginning Tuesday, November 6, at 9:00 am stakeholders can tune into morning briefings in person or remotely. Tuesday morning will feature Corps technical staff, who will give an overview of study elements.

Morning briefings will last approximately one hour and will include a recap of the previous day and an agenda for the coming day.

Conference information is as follows:

Phone Number: 888-675-2535
Access Code: 9738730
Security code: 415161
Web Meeting Address:  https://www.webmeeting.att.com Meeting Number: 8886752535 Access Code: 9738730
See you all Monday!

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