Dove Creek Dredging Project

In January 2016, the Association was awarded an Indiana LARE grant to hire a contractor to remove approximately 5,000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment and organic materials from the bottom of Dove Creek from the culvert at 450S out into the mouth of the creek in Oliver Lake. In May, a contract was awarded to Superior Docks, Seawalls and Dredging, Inc. to perform the required work for a fixed fee of $76,900, 80% of which will be covered by the LARE grant and the remaining 20% ($15,400) to be covered by our Association. 

Superior placed their excavating equipment early last Thursday AM to build the de-watering basin on Mary LaMarr's property located on the north side of 450S and they were finished by noon Friday before all the rains came. We expect the sediment/water collection piping to be installed the week of Oct. 10 and the hydraulic dredging equipment to be brought in very shortly thereafter once a large dredging project on Jimmerson Lake has been completed.

It is important to remember the reasons for this project. Unlike many dredging projects, it is NOT primarily to enhance boat navigation. The natural hard sand and gravel bed of Dove Creek is 7-9 feet deep. But with the sediments and organic materials that have accumulated over the years, the water is only 1½-2 feet deep most places in the creek. The natural flow of the creek, which can run quite strong when it rains hard, carries that nutrient-rich sediment and materials out into Oliver Lake, where it consumes lots of life-sustaining free oxygen as it further decomposes.                   

Without a good supply of free oxygen, fish and natural aquatic plants cannot thrive. In addition it creates a cycle in the fall and again in the spring when the water "turns over" as a result of the differing temperatures of the layers of water where these nutrients are again churned up into higher water and it consumes more free oxygen as it decomposes. Another byproduct is excessive algae growth, and especially the possibility of toxic algae, which can be harmful to animals and humans. The sediment also serves as a source of eColi, another toxic byproduct of animal waste. So far, water sample testing has not detected any more than insignificant amounts of eColi and other toxic compounds, but we want to keep it that way.         

Removing sediment and nutrients from the creek bottom is a good start, but long term it will be necessary to prevent them from getting into the creek in the first place. Stay tuned for another article concerning two initiatives that will focus on just that.

Many thanks to Mary LaMarr, Mark O'Shaughnessy, Jeff Frieburger, John Hoover and Jerry & Linda White for granting the Association access and use of their property to support this important project. 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss, please send an e-mail to or contact Pat Wiltshire at 463-2126.

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