A $20-million plan to restore Quincy Bay could soon be a reality

A plan to restore the Quincy Bay could soon become a reality.

The Quincy Bay Area Restoration and Enhancement Association is requesting federal money from the U.S. Corps of Engineers to address shallow water.

"Since we have been wanting this since 1987 and this is the first time we have been asked, I think we have a good chance,’ said Mike Klingner.

Klingner serves as Chairman for the Upper Mississippi Illinois and Missouri River Association.

Klingner, along with many other organizations from Quincy, recently presented a $20-million proposal to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore and enhance the Quincy Bay.

Klingner said, "We have an opportunity now to do some dredging and make sure that we can do some work to keep the sediment from coming in in the future."

Lock and Dam 21 and the railroad bridge have changed flow patterns and sediment accumulation.

An opening of what's known as the "cut through" has compounded sediment problems.

"Part of this project includes dredging, get this material out now, we're only about a foot deep we used to be about 10-feet-deep,” said Klingner.

The Quincy Bay is one of the largest natural bays on the upper Mississippi.

"The primary issue and interest that they have is the habitat. How to restore some of the habitat. So, they have recognized that we have lost a lot of depth in Quincy Bay. A lot of the native species need greater depth for wintering,” said Klingner.

The second component would be modifying the cut through.

"We still wanted have boats to be able to go through but instead of 20-feet-deep or 22-feet-deep, make it six-foot-deep with the rock dike and weir structure and have it as back water coming in. It will actually have a little weir out front and you come in from the side rather than straight through,” said Klingner.

The third component would move dredging waste to the end of the Indian Grave Drainage District. Islands would be formed to plant native trees.

Supporters say improvements would benefit recreation.

"As you can see in the background this little island out here where all of them pelicans are, this thing never existed and it all started a few years ago when a tree that got snagged out there. And next thing you know sentiment and debris built around it and now we have an island out there,” said Robert Nall.

Nall is no stranger to the Bay area.

Bob Nall is a retired Adams County Sheriff and spends his time as a member of a number of groups on the Quincy riverfront.

"It's a big part of the commerce and economics of this community. You have boat dealers, you have all of these people whether it is recreation or for sportsman," said Nall.

He hopes a proposed $20-million grant will help clear out the sediment and bring back boaters.

"All of these people who use to come down here with pleasure crafts,” said Nall. “A lot of them have went to the Ozarks or Mark Twain, they just don't like to be down here and have their boat tore up.”

Rome Frericks with the Quincy Park District says they've seen a decrease of boaters docking in the marina over the years.

"In our budget for the Art Keller Marina we set aside funding for annual dredging. The Corps of Engineers actually owns the Quincy Bay. So, we have a dredge permit that we're allowed to dredge the two entrances on the north and south marina each year just to maintain a navigational channel for the boats,” said Frericks.

Frericks says if the Quincy Bay is awarded this grant, it'll enhance life again on the riverfront.

"It's going to help the recreational boater to give them more options to go. It is going to enhance the wildlife, the habitat,” said Frericks.

The Quincy Bay Association should know if it's awarded the federal money by next month.

QBAREA will know if the Gem City will be granted this money in April.

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