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

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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