Local businessman Duane Hagadone’s revised plans for dredging the channel west of Blackwell Island include about 164 fewer boat slips and more extensive studies to determine the potential for lake and aquifer contamination.
Marina Yacht Club LLC, which is owned by Hagadone, submitted March 17 a new, more complete application to the Idaho Department of Lands and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The company also is asking for a discharge permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The public has until the end of April to comment on the plan that would modernize and expand the marina and deepen the channel to allow for larger boats. The proposed dredging area, which would make the channel about 50 percent wider and at least 8 feet deep, is from Lake Coeur d’Alene downstream, past the current marina, to where the channel flows under U.S. Highway 95.
“All the science is submitted this time,” said Carl Washburn of the Lands Department.
The plan calls for demolishing all of the current structures and increasing the capacity to 368 boat slips, just 29 more than what is currently allowed. Originally Hagadone proposed expanding the marina to about 530 slips.
Hagadone withdrew his initial request Dec. 13, after urging by the government agencies. Officials said Hagadone’s plan was incomplete and left too many questions about the level of metals in the soils and the potential for breaking the seal over the aquifer that provides drinking water to more than 400,000 people. There also were concerns about dredging in an area that is a former city landfill.
Since then, Hagadone hired experts to do more soil tests, specifically those that DEQ had said were missing and were needed to determine if unsafe levels of hazardous material that could harm humans, wildlife and aquatic life are present.
DEQ and Hagadone officials weren’t available for comment Thursday.
The findings of Hagadone’s consultants show that “the overall impact to local water quality is minimal” and that the dredging could actually help the environment.
A March 17 report by Esvelt Environmental Engineering of Spokane states that “removal of the sediment accumulated during and subsequent to mining activity in the Coeur d’Alene river basin will benefit the environment by terminating its constant contact with lake and river water where continued leaching of toxic heavy metals lead and zinc is likely to occur.”
Hagadone wants to use the most of the 220,500 cubic yards of dredged sand, silt and gravel to fill parts of Blackwell Island, raising it above the 100-year flood level.
Any soils that don’t meet government standards will be capped or covered with a 12-inch minimum layer of uncontaminated dirt. The narrative states that capping probably won’t be necessary but when build-out is complete the majority of the property will be paved, providing an additional barrier.
Hagadone wants to start construction on the seawall in June. The dredging would start in October and continue through November when the lake level is low. Excavation could occur over the next three years.
The new facilities would be moved to the north end of the island, just off the highway, and include a marina store, gas and pump-out docks. There also would be a sales center that includes a 12-slip dock and 119 personal watercraft pads.
The one boat launch would be private and the parking lot could accommodate 464 cars. All boat and trailer storage would be at another off-site facility.
The property where the marina store and sales center would sit is already in the city limits, but the majority of the property remains in Kootenai County.
Hagadone representatives have been meeting with Coeur d’Alene officials to discuss annexing the remainder of the island.
Finance Director Troy Tymesen said there is no “burning timeline” but Hagadone would have to annex the property to get city water and sewer service to develop the remainder of the island, which is where the former landfill is located.
Kootenai County will require Hagadone to get a site disturbance permit to work on the property.
Hagadone bought the 38 acres in January 2004 for an undisclosed sum. The current yacht club includes a Cobalt boat dealership and service center.
Blackwell Island didn’t exist until a lumber company decided a canal was needed as an alternate passage around the boggy area where Lake Coeur d’Alene became the Spokane River.
To comment on the proposal or view Hagadone’s application, call Carl Washburn at the Idaho Department of Lands at (208) 769-1577.