Lake Altoona pilot study delayed from theft

Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 5:10 PM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - A pilot study for Lake Altoona was set to begin today but it is now delayed after some of their equipment has been stolen.

The study is meant to test the performance of a 12-foot sediment bed load collector. Which was supposed to run for a week to let researchers test and collect data to prepare to use a 30-foot sediment collector next year.

Sediment levels in Lake Altoona are high. This equipment is created to remove the sediment. Without this equipment, boats won’t be able to pass through and the fish could die.

Saturday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers noticed that the equipment had been tampered with and stolen.

“The project was supposed to go off without a hitch, and it didn’t. We were here a day or two ago to inspect the equipment and so forth, and got shocked and surprised when it had been vandalized and thieves were here and cut out all the cords, I guess for the copper. And the unfortunate part is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is here. They came all the way from Mississippi. So there are travel plans and we have to meet those travel plans. And if you’re sitting here not doing anything, you’re wasting money and time”, says Michele Skinner, chair of the Lake Altoona District.

This incident cost the project about $2,000 in damages, not counting the travel expenses.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers believe the delay could last till the end of next week and they’re hoping to get it done before a potential government shutdown.