The high costs of in-river sand dredging include:
- Endangering water quality: Dredging stirs up silt that kills mussels and other aquatic life and is expensive to remove from drinking water.
- Increased pollution: Dredging churns up old industrial pollutants like PCBs and heavy metals that have settled to the river bottom, adding to the river’s contamination levels.
- Threats to key infrastructure: Dredging damages and destabilizes the river channel and thus risks endangering expensive, valuable infrastructure such as bridges, flood control structures, intake pipes for public water supplies, power plants, manufacturing, etc.
- Jeopardizing riparian property rights: The river automatically seeks to fill the holes that dredging creates, and one way it does this is by carving dirt away from the riverbanks, leading to loss of some of our nation’s most valuable farmland.
- Causing hazardous conditions for recreational boaters: Dredging cables that attach the rigs to the banks are often hidden underwater, and are dangerous for recreational river users. This is especially true for motor boaters who travel at high rates of speed.
- Endangering habitat: Dredging causes erosion that endangers the riparian ecosystem and alters the physical habitat needed by native fishes. Nineteen threatened and endangered fish species have been collected in the Kaw, six since 2006.