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

Commissioners cover variety of issues


Wahkiakum County commissioners covered business ranging from dredging progress to the county fair's bull riding program when they met Tuesday.

In response to a question from the audience, Commissioner Dan Cothren reported that county officials haven't yet been able to schedule a meeting with the US Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the scope of a required Section 408 Review. Officials learned two weeks ago the Corps wanted extensive review of how spoils deposits on three of the county's four flood control zone districts (FCZD) will impact the downstream environment.

"We knew we had some work to do on 4089, but not that much," Cothren said. "We're trying to find out how far we have to go. What's the cost of this now?

"And it doesn't matter--there's all the fill that comes from upriver tributaries. It (erosion from beach nourishment) is such a small amount."

Commissioner Blair Brady added that the county consultants have been trying to use information they've used in their previous dredging program.

"They (the Corps) keep changing the finish line," he commented.

Puget Island resident Liz Beutler commented that recent erosion has been severe.

"We've had considerable erosion with the high tides and the freshet," she said.

She added that efforts by individual property owners to protect their shoreline would be fruitless.

"It has just cut back all the properties," she said. "It's to the point that if you didn't have something for at least four of five houses, it wouldn't do any good."

In response to another question regarding the traffic jams at the Oneida Road boat ramp during the recent sturgeon angling seasons, Cothren said county officials have spoken with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff about the situation, "and they're looking into it."

During the first three-day opening, anglers swamped the state-owned ramp and made travel along the road very difficult.

County Undersheriff Gary Howell said he will meet with department personnel in July. He'll suggest the department should install directional signs and mow a field across the road from the ramp for a parking area. That field was too wet to mow before the openings, he added.

In response to a question from Deep River resident Nick Nikkila, Public Works Director Chuck Beyer said a recent public notice with a declaration of non-significance for the proposed shoreline master plan update was simply a step the county needs to take before the board of commissioners can act on the proposal.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the proposed update next Tuesday, 10 a.m. The updated SMP documents may be found on the county's website at


Commissioner Mike Backman participated in the meeting via telephone, and Brady asked him for an update on the issue raised last week regarding fund raising for the county fair's planned bull riding show next month. With fundraising not meeting goals, Backman wanted the board to order the end of the effort, but Cothren refused, saying it was an issue for the fair board to handle.

Backman and the county fair board met last week.

"It's been resolved so the bull riding is off for this year," Backman said.

(Editor's note: See Fair Manager Patty Dursteler's letter to the editor on page 2 for her comments on the issue.)


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