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

County, Corps agree on dredging process


March 26, 2015

Local officials and a representative of the US Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday agreed on a plan of action to nourish eroding Puget Island beaches with dredged sand.

Residents along East Sunny Sands say erosion is threatening their property, and Wahkiakum County commissioners have been asking the Corps to take steps to start the process.

On Tuesday, Karla Ellis, chief of the waterway maintenance division, gave local officials good news and bad news.

The good news was that she committed to work with the county, other local agencies and property owners to get the sand placed on the beach. The bad news is that the disposal most likely won't occur until 2016.

After discussing issues, commissioners agreed by consenus that the county would act as local sponsor of the project. Ellis said she would write a memorandum of agreement for commissioners to sign.

The agreement means that the county will act as local coordinator for the project and that it will work with the Corps to handle permitting and other paperwork.

Local officials said they wanted a long-term permit so that the beaches may be maintained without having to go through the permitting process over and over again.

Ellis agreed and recommended going for a 10-year permit. It would be set up to have a streamlined review process for projects and renewal.

County officials agreed to be the sponsor because it appears they can keep permitting costs down and because it would be faster than reconstituting the Puget Island Flood Control Zones board and developing a funding source for that board.

Five years ago, the county

obtained permits for disposal projects, and Ellis said much of the data incorporated in them could be used or modified for permits for the newest project. She made arrangements with the county public works department to get copies so she could study them.

A difficulty will be coordinating the Washington and Oregon offices of the Corps, she said. The Seattle district handles permits for work on the Washington shore, while the Portland office, where Ellis is stationed, handles permits for work in the river. She said she has good relationships with the permitting chiefs in both offices, so she thinks she can smooth a process for handling the permits.


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