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VOL. 115 | NO. 128 | Friday, July 6, 2001

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Wolf River project underway Top brass sign on to save Wolf River By SUE PEASE The Daily News Gathered around a conference table Thursday were three mayors, an army colonel, a county commissioner, a land authority official and an environmentalist to sign a document they all agreed upon. Some would consider the fact the group came to a consensus highly unusual. But, the signing ceremony signified the importance of teamwork, which is necessary for the task at hand saving the Wolf River. Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout commended the team effort despite the diversity of players. "There is no reason why people of different opinion cant work together," he said. Charles Perkins, Chickasaw Basin Authority chairman, echoed the statement. "We are all working on the same team these days," he said. Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy and Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley said they were encouraged by all parties coming together to support the project. The Wolf River has undergone severe erosion or head-cutting for years. The harsh erosion began after a project, done decades ago, tried to straighten a portion of the river to control flooding. According to Carol Jones, civil engineer and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager, the erosion has been drying wetlands and clearing wooded areas. Also, road structures such as the Collierville-Arlington Road span will be in danger of losing structural support if further damage is not prevented, Jones said. Todays project is being organized in hopes of controlling head-cutting and restoring wildlife habitats while creating recreational trails. What was signed Thursday was an agreement between the Corps, the Chickasaw Basin Authority and Shelby County that allows the Corps to start the design and pre-construction engineering on the project. It covers just over two miles of the river in Shelby and Fayette counties and will cost an estimated $9.1 million. Of that amount, $5.8 million is federal funding. Features recommended for the project include hiking trails, a wildlife corridor, three boat ramps and 24 stabilization weirs stone or timber structures, which help stabilize the riverbanks. The design stage should be complete late next year. The construction phase is expected to begin in 2003, officials said. All representatives at the ceremony expressed their eagerness to start the project. Larry Smith, Wolf River Conservancy executive director, said the day was historic and the project is of national significance. But, more importantly, is the fact it is underway. "Lets get to work," he said.

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