Proposed Fleeting by Six Mile Island
updated February 2, 2012
History and Controversy:
In late December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted a permit request from MVBS Jeffersonville, LLC for a new barge fleeting operation at the south end of Six Mile Island.
Above, red indicates the proposed fleeting area.
Per the permit application, this fleeting would use an area 1500' long by 175' wide, starting 300' south of the entrance to Admiral's Anchor and extending south to the boundary of the Darling Yacht operations.
Obviously, this affects recreational boaters who operate in this area. Many long-time boaters used to spend their weekends on Six Mile Island. With the Federal Mooring Buoys being used with much greater frequency, these folks have relocated their beaching to other areas. Many thers have enjoyed the protected area behind Six Mile Island as a place to fish or conduct watersports.
Above, some Jeffersonville residents enjoying tubing by Six Mile Island. Photo courtesy of Rob Lawyer.
Who is MVBS? Specifically, TPG Marine Enterprises LLC acquired the Mount Vernon Barge Service Inc of Mt. Vernon, IL in 2007. A subsidiary, MVBS Jeffersonville LLC, established in 2009, has advertised in the Waterways Journal, promoting their cleaning, fleeting, repair and 24-hour/year-round service.
Here is more information on the proposal:
From the Public Notice LRL-2011-999:
"The applicant proposes to construct, operate, and maintain a barge fleeting facility. The proposed facility is along the waterfront property approximately 300 feet downstream from the entrance to the Admirals Anchor Marina and north of Six Mile Island. A string of 35 barges would be in a 5-wide by 7-long configuration. The maximum riverward projection from the shoreline at the normal pool elevation of 420 feet above mean sea level (Ohio River Datum) would be 183 feet and the maximum extension along the river is 1,400 feet."
What factors go into making the determination?
"All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetic values, general environmental concerns, historic values, fish and wildlife values, flood damage prevention, land use, navigation, recreation, water supply, water quality, energy needs, safety, food production, and in general, the needs and welfare of the public."
Can Boaters Make Public Comment?
Comment Period 1/18/2012-2/17/2012
"Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. A request for a public hearing must state the specific interest which might be damaged by issuance of the DA Permit."
How can I express my opinion?
From the Public Notice:
"If you desire to submit your comments by email, you must comply with the following:"
a) In the subject line of your email, type in ONLY the Public Notice ID No. LRL-2011-999-cmh. Example: Subject: LRL-2011-999-cmh
b) Provide your physical mailing address and telephone number.
c) Send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
d) If you are sending attachments greater than 1 Mb in size with your email, you must send a hard copy (CD or paper) to the Corps' physical address as well.
What is the planned duration of the operation?
There is no limit on the Public Notice. Given that the area would be leased, the duration would be determined by the land owner.
Above, looking north from the entrance to Admiral's Anchor on a fall weekend in 2011. Photo by Capt. Eric.
Obviously, there are strong opinions from both sides of the issue.
Many recreational boaters are interested in commenting because they feel it will impact their boating. This is especially true for boaters who keep their boats near Six Mile Island and enjoy the calm waters within the channel. Following is a link to an article in "The Republic" describing some of their grievances: link
The proposed operation will be 24/7, 365 days per year. Besides the fact that the barges will extend 175' into the 400' channel, there will also be towboat operations moving them around. 200' is not a lot of room to pass, especially when trying to pass a towboat with limited maneuvering capability.
Some are concerned that they would be in jeopardy if they came out of the marina and had an engine failure. That holds true anytime you're operating in close proximity to barges, especially upstream.
It is worth noting that the proposal limits operations to non- "red-flag," or no hazardous materials operations. It is worth noting that the folks who own the land also operate the Admiral's Anchor Marina. They have been in business for decades, supporting our recreational boaters all the while. It stands to reason that they still have the interests of the recreational boaters behind them.
This operation will relocate the current activity in front of Marine Builders, making a lot of homeowners happy. Some Admiral's boaters like the fact that the barge activity will make for slower boaters passing-by when they exit the marina. It has also been suggested that having boaters going slower in the channel will allow for anchoring and beaching within the area, although it's questionable how that would play out with barges and towboats moving in the area.
Lastly, businesses have to operate somewhere. While boaters would all prefer that this operation was in somebody else's backyard, this is seen as a good location that would have a lesser impact to residents.
Above, looking south from the entrance to Admiral's Anchor. Photo by Capt. Eric.
Port KY Efforts and Opinion from Capt. Eric:
It has been argued that Port KY should lead recreational boaters in their quest to have unobstructed waterways. I grew up boating in a heavily industrialized area and feel that we need businesses running to keep the economy going.
There is a middle ground in each argument that will be vetted through the public opinion process that you, the boater, have the resources to be a part of. Lastly, it is worth pointing out that Port KY has advertisers on both sides of the fence on this issue. I have taken the approach that I will provide the available information and let you, the boater, make an informed decision.
Commercial Activity in General: The intent of this site is to help make our boaters safer and more knowledgable. In the interest
of safety, I would recommend that boaters refrain
from operating near any commercial activity that
could potentially put themselves, their guests and
their vessels in jeopardy.
Other External links:
- "The Republic" Article describing permit 01/24/12: link
- US Army Corps of Engineers permits: link
Let us know if you have anything to add concerning local river activity.
Other Local Knowledge: link