Coast Guard to reassess buoy plan

By Mary Divine, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

Apr. 9–ST. CROIX RIVER — After hearing from concerned boaters, officials from the U.S. Coast Guard have revised their plan for removing about 20 navigational buoys from the St. Croix River south of Stillwater.

Coast Guard officials said Thursday that they are awaiting the results of a hydrographic survey by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine how to best mark the river for boaters. The survey should be completed by May 14 and the navigational aids should be in place by the beginning of the boating season, said Ensign Austin Glass, who works on federal projects for the U.S. Coast Guard.

If the survey indicates there is sufficient channel width and depth for the Coast Guard cutter used by crews to reach the buoys, officials will install day beacons — boards that are marked with reflective tape and rise 17 feet above the water line — at different locations along the river. “Because of the reflective tape, they tend to be seen at greater distances in the water,” Glass said.

If the survey indicates there is not sufficient channel width and depth for the cutter to safely transit the river, the Coast Guard will use a smaller boat to install new channel buoys in the river. Where the buoys would be located and how many would be installed would depend upon the survey results, Glass said.

— Mary Divine


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