September 2, 2016 |
On summer mornings, Al Wachlin puts on his muckiest clothes and pilots a no-name barge up and down the Schuylkill, trawling for weeds. Wachlin, 77, steers slowly through lime-colored vegetation that motorists and joggers see blanketing the surface, but the salad he's after lives deeper down, a hearty and hairy fighter called the Eurasian water milfoil that's not supposed to be in the river or really anywhere in the United States. "It's just backbreaking labor," Wachlin said. Wachlin, a former rower for the University of Pennsylvania and a semiretired real estate investor, has gotten creative trying to keep one of the nation's premier rowing destinations clear of milfoil.
May 14, 2016 |
Two weeks ago, Paul Laskow watched plumes of mud rise in the Schuylkill as rowers tried to push their boats off from the docks at Boathouse Row. Normally, the water surrounding the docks is six feet deep. But these days, outside some boathouses, Laskow says, you can sit on the dock, put your hand in the water, and touch the river bottom. Sediment buildup caused by the Schuylkill's various dams has long been a problem along Boathouse Row and the racecourses just upriver. With the annual Dad Vail Regatta getting underway Friday, the river is long overdue for a dredging, said Laskow, who runs the river restoration committee of the Schuylkill Navy, the governing body of Boathouse Row. Funds to dredge the river, however, are hard to come by. Laskow and his committee have been working for three years to get a dredging barge up the Schuylkill.
May 8, 2014 |
LT. ANDREW Napoli spends most of his day riding up and down the city's rivers. But it's no pleasure cruise - he's looking for threats to the safety of Penn's Landing and other waterfront properties. Oh, and dead bodies. "Spring is one of our busier seasons," Napoli, who leads the Police Department's Marine Unit, said during a recent patrol along the Delaware River. "Because the water is so cold, the bodies don't decompose, and they sink to the river bottom. "So in the spring, when the water warms, they start to surface.
December 18, 2012 |
ST. LOUIS - Barge operators along a key stretch of the Mississippi River braced Monday for months of restricted shipping as crews prepared to begin blasting large rock formations impeding navigation on the drought-plagued waterway. Contractors could begin drilling holes into troublesome river bedrock south of St. Louis and detonating explosives as early as Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers said. Demolition of the massive formations near Thebes, Ill., coincides with an unusual move by the agency to release water from a southern Illinois lake, adding a few inches of depth to a river that is getting lower by the day - largely because of the lingering effects of the worst drought in decades.
June 15, 2008 |
Today I'll think fondly of Dad. Which is odd, because I used to hate him. Dad was an angry, hard-swearing, tattooed man's man. He'd once been an Alaska bush pilot, but I remember a California traveling salesman, drinking himself to death. When I was 2 he threw my empty crib across the room. When I was 12, he picked a fistfight with my brother. He routinely shouted at us in front of friends. By the time I was 13, I wished he would die. And then he did. I thought I had killed him and became terrified I would damage others.
November 15, 2007 |
In a small survey boat, maritime archaeologist J. Lee Cox Jr. was checking the bottom of the Delaware River at the Sunoco Logistics pier in South Philadelphia when he got a hit on the side-scan sonar. A pipe? A log? A hazard to the oil tankers docking nearby? No one was sure until a diver was sent down weeks later and found a strange pointed object buried in the muck about 40 feet down. This week, Cox identified it as the business end of a cheval-de-frise, an iron-tipped log once embedded in the river, along with many others, to gore the hulls of British warships menacing Philadelphia in the mid-1770s.
September 28, 2007 |
The monthlong emergency deepening of the Delaware River shipping channel finished this week and tons of dredge spoil have been dumped in a park at the foot of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. The controversial project, which environmentalists feared would harm Palmyra Cove Nature Park in Burlington County, ends with more than 10 park acres covered with muck pulled from the river bottom. The spoil, surrounded by earthen berms, covers a park wetlands area near Dragonfly Pond with a thick layer of sandy soil specked with small shells and rocks.
April 23, 2006 |
Quickie deals in Harrisburg that drop valuable riverbed property into the laps of private developers for next to nothing will be a thing of the past, if a handful of elected officials prevail. Their concerns - as well as a flurry of interest in building along the Delaware River in Philadelphia - culminated in Gov. Rendell's call more than a week ago for a moratorium on development along the river's banks. Rendell, State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.), and other lawmakers said they thought they needed to pause the state's practice of transferring so-called riparian rights - rights to the Delaware's river-bottom - to developers.
April 19, 2006 |
Gov. Rendell's move to temporarily halt all development on portions of the Delaware River in Philadelphia could affect the plans of at least two casino groups seeking to build slots parlors on the waterfront. Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia and SugarHouse Casino, two of five applicants vying for a slots license in the city, said they might have to alter their development plans for slots parlors, which have already been submitted to the state's Gaming Control Board for approval. Aside from casinos, at least two proposed condominium towers, as well as a residential and hotel project, could be put on hold, according to state officials.
March 13, 2006 |
The divisions run deep in the debate over whether dredging the Delaware River shipping channel is an environmental risk or an exaggerated fear. Along with disagreement over the economic worth of the $300 to $500 million project, environmental hazards that some say dredging poses have helped shelve the project for more than a decade. But with Gov. Rendell, who supports the plan, forcing a showdown with New Jersey foes by holding up the Delaware River Port Authority's budget, the complicated and conflicting environmental analyses of the river have returned to the forefront of the long-standing dispute.