Coast Guard sets buoy tender meeting
A proposal by the U.S. Coast Guard to remove the buoys it maintains on the St. Croix River may not be in place by the coming navigational season.
Earlier this month the Coast Guard said since the stretch of the St. Croix between Prescott and Stillwater is not used for commercial traffic and is not dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers, it would remove the buoys.
"The proposal is to look at how to be more fiscally responsible with the taxpayer's money," said Chief Warrant Officer Justin Coder at the USCG headquarters in St. Louis. There is also the problem of navigating the river with the CG Cutter Wyaconda since the channel is not dredged anymore.
"The problem is the river is so shallow that the cutter can't get to the buoys," Coder said, but he doubted the full review process would be completed to affect the St. Croix this summer.
The cutter that works the area is based in Dubuque, Iowa. Coder said it may never be able navigate the local waters again on the 25.5 mile stretch of river.
However, recreational boaters have become accustomed to buoys to mark the shallow spots and danger points.
The Coast Guard has set up a public meeting on the subject for March 2 in Stillwater, Minn. When the final arrangements for the public meeting are set, it will be published in the Federal Register and in the local notice to mariners.
"If it is determined that federal aids to navigation are needed we are looking into all options to maintain them within the safe operating limits of USCG resources," said Ensign Austin T. Glass of the USCG 8th District.
"During the last visit to the area the CGC Wyaconda did touch bottom several times, which is the main reason for beginning the review of the aids to navigation system in the area," Glass said.
Anyone who desires to contribute feedback can e-mail concerns to Austin.T.Glass@uscg.mil or D8localnoticefeedback@uscg.mil the local notice to mariners can be accessed at www.navcen.uscg.gov/lnm/ d8mrs/default.htm