Rehab Along The Arkansas River

Monday, March 10th 2008, 5:39 pm
By: News On 6

Rehab work is underway on the Arkansas River.  The Arkansas River is dry right now.  The gates at Keystone are shut off so crews can do some maintenance.  The News On 6's Steve Berg reports it's also a good time for some river rehab.

All the sand near the RiverParks Festival Stage is not very pretty.  But, it's good for getting work done.  It's time for spring cleaning on the Arkansas River.

"We do have three projects going on RiverParks right now.  One is repairing several of the seals on the Zink Dam," said RiverParks' Tonja Pitzer.

RiverParks' Tonja Pitzer says it's the first time in the dam's nearly 30-year history that the seals have been replaced.  They've deteriorated to the point it's getting difficult to maintain a water-level high enough for rowing activities.

The dropping water-level has allowed for interesting discoveries.  Using $500,000 in money from a lawsuit against Sinclair, a thorough debris removal program has begun all along the river.  And, it's not just tree-limbs being removed from the river.

"They've pulled shopping carts out at 81st and Riverside," said RiverParks' Tonja Pitzer.  "They pulled a car out on the west side, and so lots of these things have been there a long time."

And the crews will work as long as they can.

"We'll continue until our resources are used up, and we have as much debris out of the river as possible," said RiverParks' Tonja Pitzer.

Meanwhile, they'll be putting back sand for the least-tern habitat, restoring the island breeding grounds for the endangered bird.

With all the projects, they want to get as much done during the next seven days as they can.

"Because typically this time of year the water is high," said RiverParks' Tonja Pitzer.

The gates on the Keystone Dam will re-open next week. So, they have to get the work done and get out.