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

County, diking district discuss erosion issue on Welcome Sl. Road

 


What can be done about the eroding shoreline along Puget Island's North Welcome Slough Road?

That's a question troubling the board of commissioners of Consolidated Diking District No. 1 on the Island.

A long stretch of dike borders the Columbia River with just a couple dozen feet of willow covered wetland between the dike and the steep eroding shoreline.

The area is part of one of the county's four flood control erosion zones, for which county officials have been working over two years to establish a 10-year beach nourishment program using spoils from maintenance dredging of the Columbia River shipping channel.

County officials said last week that they're almost finished with the permit application process, and beach nourishment will occur in areas where sand has collected in the channel.

However, they said the Welcome Slough zone's wetland and narrow, steep profile may delay sand placement there.

Diking Commissioners Philip Vik, Mike Phelan and Tony Aegerter on Tuesday told county commissioners they were concerned by the apparent low priority given to the Welcome Slough site.

"Nobody has priority over anybody," responded county Commissioner Dan Cothren. "The volume of sand determines who gets it first. That's determined by the Corps of Engineers, not by us."

Diking commissioners would like the area armored with riprap, Vik said. Part of the shoreline was riprapped in the 1960's, but the work was never completed. Now, Vik said, the state Department of Ecology dislikes riprap projects.

Aegerter said there is an old plan for riprapping the eroding shoreline and that needs to be done. The river has eroded between the shoreline and a pile dike, and the current is flowing through the space speeding erosion on the downstream shoreline.

"There is a document, and it's time to force their hands and put a permanent fix to it," Aegerter said.

County commissioners said they would support that effort with letters to the Corps, and Vik asked that county officials also raise the issue with federal representatives who can influence the Corps.

"If you want us to go that route, we will go that route," Cothren said.

 

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