The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Diana Zimmerman
Wah. Co. Eagle 

Port 1 commission seeks consensus on dredging plans


Commissioners of Port 1 talked dredging, beavers, moorage and off season rates at last Thursday’s meeting.

Josh Adams, who had requested permanent moorage space for the F/V Harmony at an earlier meeting, wondered if he could stay or look elsewhere.

“What it comes down to is the waiting list,” Commissioner Bob Kizziar said. “You’d have to get your name on the waiting list and when your name came up we’d put you in.”

A $25 dollar fee is required to stay on the waiting list for a permanent slip, which is updated every year, according to Port Manager Jackie Lea.

The new state derelict vessel bill 2 SHB 2457 will require documentation including licenses and proof of insurance for all vessels mooring for 30 days or more. The new requirements may force some boats out of the marina, and this could create an opening for Adams, they said.

Brian Perleberg from Northern Resource Consulting, Inc. in Longview spoke to the commissioners about the permitting process for dredging, which the port has already begun.

Commissioner Larry Bond asked him if using upland disposal for the dredge spoils would simplify the process, as it would lessen environmental impact.

“The preference is that you put it back in the river,” Perleberg answered. “And if you are going to permit an upland disposal site, it’s a little bit of a high road. You have to have the available land to do that; it has to be under public ownership; it has to be a non-wetland area and surveyed in.

"The Corps (US Army Corps of Engineers) has a bunch of upland disposal sites right now. And all the information that went into permitting their upland disposal sites created an environmental impact statement that was almost a foot thick. It’s a lot more challenging to do upland disposal.”

“If you have a place you want to fill in anyway?” asked Kizziar. “It might be beneficial to use the old sewer treatment ponds. We might like to reclaim some of that land perhaps. It hasn’t been designated as a wetland and it’s partitioned from the Columbia.”

“That’s an option to put forward,” Perleberg replied.

Perleberg offered some other advice. He suggested that the port get a 10 year permit for dredging for maximum usage. However, the 10 year permit requires the holder to retest the material after five years. He also suggested that if the county would be doing dredging for the ferry dock, that the port ask if that dredger might not be able to do the port's work and save some mobilization cost.

“It’s not an inexpensive thing to do, dredging,” Perleberg said, “unfortunately. But it also is a necessary evil if you are going to maintain your facility.”

With the permitting process taking up to a year and a half and a window of permission to do water work between the months of November and the end of February, the port may have to wait until the end of 2015 before they can begin to dredge.

After Perleberg left, the commissioners discussed temporary fixes like prop and wheel washing, but nothing was decided.

Lea requested permission to move forward in moving the RV dump to another site to make it more accessible. A motion was made and approved for Lea to solicit bids.

Kizziar asked his fellow commissioners what kind of vision they had for the sewer pond space.

“We still have the problem that we don’t know what we can or can’t do,” Commissioner Gary Quigley said.

Bonds agreed. “What good are ideas if you can’t do it? We should know what we can do. What good is all the talk?”

“You could go together with the Town of Cathlamet and hire an engineer to get that information,” Council Tim Hanigan suggested.

In other business, beavers are felling trees and causing problems in the rock pit on the edge of the marina. With few options for controlling the animals, the port plans to build a wire enclosure around the nearby culvert to prevent the beavers from plugging it and causing flooding.

Lea requested that they drop monthly rates for RVs during the off season, and the commissioners agreed to $350 a month.


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