By ERIC X. VICCARO
Ste. Genevieve Levee District No. 3 has had an area of land that’s termed a “borrow site” near the Mississippi River for roughly the past 30 years.
The “borrow site” was recently renamed Lake Audubon, as part of the conveyance from the levee district to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. (USFWS).
Levee district board member Tom Okenfuss questioned what was going on with the “borrow site” during new business at the levee board meeting on Sept. 14 at city hall. The borrow site runs 15 feet deep.
City administrator Happy Welch stated all easements have been sent off for review.
USFWS has been in recent talks with the United States Corps of Engineers, with two possibilities emerging.
One is to keep Lake Audubon “as is” or the levee district may need to find a new site, and this is what concerned Okenfuss.
“That’s dirt we need if there is ever a levee breech,” Okenfuss said in a telephone conversation with the Herald on Friday.
Okenfuss, who ran the meeting in place of board president Vern Bauman, doesn’t think the levee district should give the “borrow site” away.
There was a meeting involving the USFWS and the city on a recent Monday where the current “borrow site” came under review.
A “borrow site” is a location where soil is removed to be used in the repair of damages to earthen levees.
Borrow sites typically must be approved by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, which has a team to ensure compliance of such areas, this is all according to an emergency management document on such guidelines dated from January 2010 (found online).
Additional talks on this area will take place during next month’s regular meeting.