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

Shorthanded board hears dredging report


January 19, 2017

By Rick Nelson

With one member out of town and another ailing at home, the Wahkiakum County commissioners didn't cover too much ground at their meeting Tuesday.

Commissioner Dan Cothren journeyed to Olympia for a special meeting of the Board of Natural Resources, and Commissioner Blair Brady called the courthouse to attend the meeting by phone.

Commissioner Mike Backman chaired the 20-minuted meeting, and he and Brady tabled action on two items of business--hearing a claim for damages from a person whose vehicle sustained damage from fresh road stripe paint and promoting a road mechanic into a new road mechanic II position.

"We need to get more detail," Backman said of the latter issue.

Residents of eroding beaches on Puget Island and Cape Horn weekly ask commissioners for reports on progress to implement beach nourishment dredging. Cothren, who was absent, is the board's dredging contact, so he couldn't respond, and Public Works Director Chuck Beyer was ill and out of the office.

Instead, Trish Shroyer, a Cape Horn property owner, reported she had an email update from


Horton, southwest Washington staff representative for US Senator Maria Cantwell. Horton listed all the steps needed to get the dredging permitted and implemented, Shroyer said, "and we're down to the last two steps."

Here are the steps, as listed by Horton:

--County and Corps of Engineers: Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the county and the Portland Corps for use of land for shoreline disposal, complete;

--County and residents: Individual right of entry permits for Puget Island and Cape Horn areas, complete;

--County: Complete study of the potential effects of shoreline placement on the ferry channel, complete;

--County: Apply for JARPA permit from Seattle Corps, complete;

Portland Corps: Evaluate the County’s ferry channel study, in progress, and

--Seattle Corps: Issue JARPA permit to the county, in progress, and further,

--Corps survey of the area confirming there is sufficient volume of sand to dredge in that stretch of the Columbia River and setting a date to dredge and sand placement, in progress.

Horton added that the office of the Seattle Corps has 135 days to review the JARPA application to do its consultation with the other agencies and issue the permit application; that period will expire around the end of April, depending on the date the Seattle Corps received the permit. During this consultation time, the Seattle Corps will also consult with the Portland Corps office to verify the engineering report on the potential effects, or lack thereof, of the sand placement.


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