Richie Swanson: Don't add eyesore to Latsch Island

Richie Swanson: Don't add eyesore to Latsch Island

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The Pool 6 dredge-sand plan would store tons of ugly dredge sand right across the Mississippi River from downtown, where public and private investors have spent millions, sprucing up the riverfront.

The plan suggests expanding the current dredge-storage site on Latsch Island from roughly one acre to 10.

The expansion undercuts the quality-of-life goal in the city’s comprehensive plan: to utilize the city’s “geography, heritage and natural resources to enhance its desirability.”

It undercuts Levee Park’s design, which maximizes views of river, by adding an eyesore. It foils the river’s grandeur as seen from the new bridge, piling its eyesore right beneath outlooks.

The plan’s cost analysis doesn’t include the eyesore’s impact on riverfront properties or tourism, nor the costs associated with the nine-foot channel mandated by Congress.

The river has lost her natural flow, no longer forms islands. So, the Corps spends millions, building them for habitat. Meanwhile the expansion would destroy island habitat, floodplain forest.

The expansion would likely exceed Wisconsin’s standard for the probability of raising “water surface elevations” -- a telltale flaw. Climate change promises more rain and larger floods, which will erode and deposit more sand, demanding more dredging. The expansion perpetuates the problem, doesn’t solve it.

Richie Swanson, Latsch Island

Editor's note: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to collect public comments and suggests now is the time for individuals to express concerns/

Deadline to send in comments, April 10, 2020, is fast approaching. Comments can be submitted in writing via email at Pool6DMMP@usace.army.mil or commenters can address a letter to St. Paul District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ATTN: Regional Planning and Environment Division North, 180 5th St. E., Suite 700, St. Paul, MN 55101.

The draft environmental assessment describing the plan and the environmental impacts is available to the public and can be viewed on the St. Paul District website .

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