2015 Dredge Operation Summary
By: Dan Mullins
RRA Operations Manager
Operation for the season began April 16th, the day after the road weight limit ban ended. Our first task was to prepare the dewatering site which involved stock piling the material from 2014 to make room for the incoming material from 2015. This task was incorporated into the regular duties of the maintenance department along with the spring clean up from the previous winter, roadside clean up’s, downed tree limbs and pot-hole repairs, both pools had to be opened, beach clean ups, buoys installed on the lake, volley ball and tennis courts all had to be ready before Memorial Day, the start of the summer season. These tasks continued through April and May. During this time period, one of our full-time employees went out on a medical leave for most of the 2015 dredge & summer season. This loss of 25% of our manpower was a big setback, but adjustments were made and we moved forward.
The staging area at Fishermans Cove was installed, pictured below, and the work at our dewatering site continued. This staging area was a challenge due to the heavy amount of silt in this cove. The barges were launched and the dredge crew finished a channel at the end of Plum Creek removing 90 yards from this cove. The dredge crew then moved to the small, unnamed cove, on the northeast side of the lake. This cove was cleaned out removing 150 yards of material to assist with road drainage on Morningstar. The dredge crew then headed to Fishermans Cove. On the way towards Fishermans Cove, a call came into the office that a very large tree had fallen into the lake at the mouth of Plum Creek. The maintenance crew was able to utilize the excavator and barges to remove this very large oak tree from the water. The dredging platform made this task safer and decreased the amount of time it usually would take to remove this type of obstacle. Prior to having the dredge platform to work from in the water, tree’s this size would take on average 2 to 3 days cutting pieces small enough to handle safely from a boat to remove. The tree in the below photo took 3 hours to remove from the lake. This versatility allows us to remove these types of obstacles from the lake in a safer and more efficient manner.
Material being removed from the lake moved into high gear on June 17th. The access to Fishermans Cove was finished and the dredge crew, in between keeping all of the other summer amenities maintained, began dredging. For the month of June, 8 days were spent on the water dredging and 550 yards of material was removed from Fishermans Cove.
July was a busy month with the Fourth of July Fireworks and all of the other summer activities going on. Maintenance of the dewatering site, and access drives continued daily, pictured below. Another large tree was removed from Island Cove. The barge platform again made this task safer and allowed us to return to dredging the next day to Fishermans Cove. Along with their regular summer duties, the dredge crew spent 11 days on the water and removed 550 yards of material from Fisherman’s Cove.
The month of August was the end for all but 2 part time summer employees. This kept the full-time crew focusing on amenities and the winding down of the summer season. The crew dredged on the water a total of 9 days for the month of August and removed 550 yards of additional material from Fisherman’s Cove.
With the pools closing in September and the slowing of the need for grass mowing this allowed the dredge crew to remove 1,000 yards of material in Fishermans Cove in 10 days time. Our full-time employee returned to work on light duty, this had a positive impact on our production.
The month of October proved to be the most productive dredging month. This was due to manpower strictly focused on dredging. They were dredging daily for almost the entire month and removed an impressive 2,900 yards in 18 days. The weather was unusually dry and this allowed us to maintain our dewatering site easily in a month that is normally rainy and cold. Before and after pictures of Fishermans Cove below:
The barges were removed from the lake the last week of October before the lake draw down on November 2nd. There was the intention to continue dredging from the shore if the lake draw down was sufficient enough to allow this, unfortunately the cycle of drawn down did not allow us this opportunity.
Overview – The 2015 season total of removed material from the lake was 5,790 yards. We used 255 gallons of off road diesel and 193 gallons of on-road diesel. Our bulldozer consumed 65 gallons of off-road diesel for the season and our push-boat used 35 gallons of regular gas. We are very pleased with the performance of our equipment. We had no mechanical breakdowns in the 2015 dredge season. With this being our first full year incorporating the dredging operation along with the regular duties of the maintenance department, I am calling this season a great success!
Moving forward in 2016, the dredge crew continues to improve on the knowledge gained and improving the process. The dredging schedule for 2016 will be to finish Fishermans Cove, then move to Nature’s Cove and then onto Sugarcreek.
We are planning for another successful season in 2016!