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USACE announces channel maintenance dredging near Evansville, encourages public to recreate responsibly

Louisville District
Published June 29, 2023
Sand bar in the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana

Local visitors recreate at sand bar in the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Louisville District has begun annual channel maintenance dredging on the Ohio River, which will likely include maintenance dredging at Evansville Bend at Ohio River Mile 792 near Evansville, Indiana. Dredging is expected to start in the Evansville area later this summer, and USACE is encouraging the local public to recreate responsibly and help deter misuse of the area.
 
Dredging is necessary to maintain a channel that is deep enough for safe and reliable commercial navigation. USACE typically dredges at the Evansville location annually, and in the past the sediment from dredging has been placed in a way that creates a sand bar. Depending on the amount of dredged material available and other factors, dredging operations could potentially form a sand bar again this year. The sand bar has become an attraction for recreation within the Evansville community.
 
“USACE is pleased that this beneficial use of the dredged material has become a valued amenity, and we need the community’s help to ensure that this can continue,” said Shawn Kenney, Louisville District Technical Support Branch chief. “If members of the community place items on the sand bar, which may become a hazard to navigation and which litters our nation’s waterways, then USACE may find it necessary to stop creating the sand bar. We encourage the public to utilize this resource responsibly and remind your peers to do so as well so that it can continue for all to enjoy.”
 
USACE can dispose of the dredged material below the water surface such that no sand bar is created, if needed to protect the environment and to mitigate risks to public safety. A previous incident in 2022 involving a camper that was abandoned on the sand bar is an illustrative example of the types of violations which could lead to the loss of the recreational amenity.
 
Under the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, actions that cause vessels and craft to be sunk in the Ohio River’s navigable channel, as well as actions that cause an obstruction to navigation or the navigable capacity of the Ohio River or any of its tributaries, are unlawful and the party responsible may be held liable for the cost of removal. The Act also makes it unlawful to in any way to cause refuse matter to be deposited into Ohio River and to deposit material of any kind on the bank of the Ohio River if it might be liable to be washed into the river either by ordinary high tides, storms, floods or otherwise. Violations of the Rivers and Harbors Act may result in criminal prosecution. 
 
“Louisville District’s Regulatory Division is committed to the strong protection of aquatic resources and navigation. We encourage the public to assist us in this effort by reporting anyone placing large objects or debris in the Ohio River that could obstruct navigation and endanger public safety,” said Eric Reusch, Louisville District Regulatory Division Chief.
 
Community members who choose to recreate near the area are strongly encouraged to recreate responsibly and practice water safety. As the July 4th holiday weekend approaches and summer is in full swing—it’s important to keep safety in mind when on or around the water. Always wear a life jacket. An adult can drown in just 60 seconds. Always post a watcher when people are swimming, and never swim alone. For more water safety and boating tips visit: pleasewearit.com.
 
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Contact
Abby Korfhage
lrl-pao@usace.army.mil

Release no. 23-017

Chick Lock

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