Arenac County Drain Commission asks U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for help with sand cleanup

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AuGRES — The Arenac County Drain Commission is looking for help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for maintaining sand cleanup in the AuGres River.

Drain Commissioner Larry Davis said after an unexpected 6.5 inches of rain fell earlier this year, sand traps along the river need to be cleaned prematurely because more sand was captured than expected.

“It will cost around $15,000 to $16,000 to clean,” he said. “It hurts our budget because we had not planned to use the money until next year.”

Davis said the money used for the maintenance comes primarily from residents who need the service.

Davis said his goal is to talk to Congressman Bart Stupak to get help from the Corps.

“We need the Corps of Engineers on our side,” he said.

Currently the Corps of Engineers does not have a program that will allow them the help with maintenance in waters that are unnavigable.

Davis said the corps completed a $640,000 project to clean the mouth of the AuGres River. He added that the river north of Baum Road is considered a county drain.

“We currently have no authority to maintain the sand traps,” said David Gerczak, Corps of Engineers outreach coordinator.

The use of trapping sand and building benches is a part of the AuGres River Project that started last year.

Davis said the traps and benches worked well, keeping the mouth of the river clean and preventing floods.

The traps and benches are a benefit to both the community and to farmers in the area, Davis added.

“It keeps the harbor clean and keeps sand bars from developing, and they protect the farmers’ land,” he said. “Had the traps and benches not been here, a majority of this farm land would have been destroyed.”

Davis said the AuGres River Project covers 11 miles of river between Baum and Turner roads.

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