The US Army Corps of Engineers and their contractor on the Steamboat Slough/Refuge Dike Construction Project have agreed on a plan to open the road for limited weekend fishing access through June.
Steamboat Slough Road is currently closed to public access, including access for local anglers to keep the public out of the construction area for public safety and to safeguard the construction site and equipment.
On Friday, Gail Saldaña, Corps Project Manager, outlined the Corps's concerns and what the had decided about a request from the Wahkiakum County board of commissioners for angler access.
"We understand the community's desire to allow fishing to continue from the existing levee; however we must balance the needs of construction activity with public access," Saldaña said.
"I have discussed this issue at length within the Corps' leadership and we agree with the importance of developing access opportunities for anglers--within the constraints of an active construction site.
"The contractor is responsible for keeping the site secured at all times. The Corps is requesting the contractor allow public access (pedestrian traffic only) on weekends through the end of June. All anglers must leave the property prior to 6 a.m. Monday morning, allowing the contractor to resume work by 7.a.m. Please note this will require the Corps to compensate the contractor for the additional security during these times.
"Additionally, the contractor plans to work on Memorial Day, so anglers will not have access to the fishing area during this holiday. If this situation changes we will notify you as soon as possible."
The construction schedule includes extended work hours five days a week until the end of June, Saldaña said. This schedule is dependent on work progress and may require partial or total weekend closures when anglers will not be allowed access. The contractor plans to transition to a seven-day work week beginning in July. When that occurs, the work site will be closed to any fishing or public access at all times.