Silt Build-Up In Schuylkill At Worrying Levels

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Schuylkill River will be the focal point for thousands of high school rowers and their families, as the prestigious Stotesbury Regatta gets underway.

They may not notice, but there is a growing problem under the water.

Beloved Boathouse Row and the legendary race course were created by damming the river, but that also created a problem with sediment.

The River must be dredged every decade or so to stay navigable. The Army Corps of engineers did it for several decades, but not since 2000, so the river bed has risen so high, boats can’t launch from some places and get stuck in others.

It’s led to other problems such as weeds that entangle oars.

The Schuylkill Navy, stewards of the river for 160 years and host of the regatta, have been sounding the alarm for more than a year, but now they say the problem is getting worse at an exponential rate, recently causing safety launches to get stuck in the riverbed during a rescue.

“We need to get this done for the safety of everybody that’s on that river,” said Congressman Bob Brady.

Brady has been lobbying the Army Corps of Engineers to get it done, but the corps says they had higher-priority projects last year, and this year is still a question mark, since they haven’t gotten their full budget yet.

However, Brady is optimistic.

“we’re going to keep pushing till we get this thing done,” he said.

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