By ERIC X. VICCARO
Ste. Genevieve County Levee District No. 3 continued discussions on conveyance to the United States Fish & Wildlife Service.
The board agreed to have local surveyor Gerald “Duck” Bader re-survey the all the land – except the borrow pit.
A borrow pit is an excavated area where material has been dug for use as fill at another location.
The area would be used by the levee district in case of a catastrophe on the scale of the flood of 1993.
“You don’t know when you’ll need it,” said board member Dr. Phil Loida during discussions.
Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch said Bader will need to find the exact property line along the levee, and where to cut the “borrow pit” out of the mix.
On Oct. 28, during his city administrator’s report, Welch noted his discussions with the USFWS.
“The USFWS is mostly concerned with Audubon Lake, the borrow pit where the Corps of Engineers approved earthen materials exist to make repairs to the levee,” Welch noted in the report.
Welch continued, saying the service didn’t have problems with other right-of-ways or easements.
The surveying process was not completed by the end of Fiscal Year 2021, added Welch.
The USFWS, according to the meeting minutes, doesn’t want to take over Lake Audubon if Levee District No. 3 would need to borrow from the pit at some point.
The Joint Levee Commission serves as the current property owners of the entire site, with the city serving in a management role. The Kertzs crop a portion of this land.
Welch reported the entire area covers more than 200 acres. However, the exact area of entire acreage, and that of the “borrow pit,” remains unknown until the survey is completed.
Once the survey is complete, the matter will be taken to both the Ste. Genevieve Planning and Zoning Commission and the board of aldermen for approval.
In the future, the title to the property will be conveyed to the USFWS, and it will be up to this federal entity to make improvements it deems proper — including proposed trees, public access and recreation opportunities as discussed during the meeting.
Ste. Genevieve Mayor Paul Hassler said the most important thing to do is “keep moving this along.”
Board member Tom Okenfuss, who ran the meeting in the absence of Vern Bauman, made the motion to approve a re-survey, with a second from Sue Schweiss, leaving Lake Audubon out. The measure passed unanimously, 4-0.