Residents of the Pancake Point area on Puget Island's East Sunny Sands are starting to see an old nemesis: Their beach is eroding at a fast rate that could someday threaten homes.
Resident Mike Beutler approached the Wahkiakum County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to ask if county officials had followed up on conversations last fall with the US Army Corps of Engineers and Port of Portland about starting the design and permitting process to use dredge spoils to replenish the beach, as happened in 2006.
"Most of the sand deposited eight years ago is gone," he said. "The erosion has affected areas that were not a problem before. It's getting to a dire point. Trees have fallen off the beach."
Commissioner Mike Backman, a Puget Island resident, commented that he had observed erosion in other spots along East Sunny Sands.
County Public Works Director Pete Ringen reported that no further meetings have occurred with the Corps of Port of Portland to discuss the issue.
Ringen added that East Sunny Sands residents need to band together to make the project feasible for dredge spoils. The Corps wants a large area, and one land owner previously refused to allow entry on his beachfront, and that hampered the project, Ringen said.
Beutler, son-in-law of the late Nina Lou Watson, said he is collecting signatures from Sunny Sands residents for letters to the area's Congressional representatives to support sand deposits.
Commissioners also said they would look into restarting the Puget Island Erosion Control District, which was active in dredging and erosion issues at the time of the deposit of dredge spoils.