Boat ramps won’t be cleaned by corps

Published 11:05 am Thursday, August 14, 2014

CHESAPEAKE — County leaders want the ramps at Indian Guyan at Bradrick and Symmes Creek at Chesapeake cleaned out so boats besides canoes or kayaks can be launched there.

They say it’s the responsibility of the Army Corps of Engineers that built the ramps and want the corps to start doing what they say it is supposed to.

However, the corps says that’s not going to happen. The reason: no money.

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“The way where they are placed in the river, some of these places tend to get silt,” Charles Minsker, public information officer for the Huntington district of the corps, said.

Until 2003 the corps kept those two boat ramps cleared as was needed, Minsker said.

“The Indian Guyan was dredged by the corps until 2004 because of tighter budgets,” he said. “It was one of the first ramps we stopped dredging as budget and environmental requirements allowed.”

However the corps did dredge it in 2008, 2009 and 2010, but with few boaters showing up at Indian Guyan, the corps stopped all cleanup efforts.

“The usage remains low in later years despite our efforts to keep it usable,” Minsker said.

On top of reduced usage the environmental agencies that certify the corps’ dredging eliminated the place where dredge material was placed because a mussel bed was located at that site.

“That significantly adds to the cost of the dredge,” he said. “We would have to haul it away or place it in an approved disposal area offsite.”

Symmes Creek was dredged by the corps until 2003. Again the arrival of mussel beds increased the cost of disposing of the dredge.

“Since this is in close proximity to a usable site, it is not in our plans to dredge in the future,” Minsker said.

Across from Symmes is the Huntington boat ramp, which the corps says can be used by Lawrence boaters, just as the Guyandotte boat ramp is across from Indian Guyan.