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

County faces steep costs for dredging


September 7, 2017

Rick Nelson

Owners of property along East Sunny Sands can only watch as the dredge Portland pumps dredged sand parallel to the beach and across the river to a disposal site in Oregon.

Wahkiakum County may well have to come up with another quarter million dollars to accomplish dredging projects to protect eroding shorelines.

That's the news Commissioner Dan Cothren reported from a late August meeting with the US Army Corps of Engineers and representatives of federal representatives.

The Corps is requiring a Section 408 review, which will analyze the potential impacts of placing dredged sand on the eroding beaches. The cost could run $200,000 to $300,000, Cothren said.

"I'm also very depressed, and very angry, after talking to them," Cothren commented.

"I'm really upset with a lot of different things, and it all relates back to the environmental community.

"The environmental community is so hard core they can't see past their nose."

In response to suits by environmentalists, the Corps, and other regulatory agencies, are requiring more and more information and permits to approve a project, and those studies and permits are costly, Cothren said.

"For us in a small community, we're getting challenged by these groups," Cothren said. "It's money, money, money, which we don't have."

Cothren said there won't be funds coming out of Congress, which passed a law a few years ago prohibiting funding of specific projects.

County officials will have to think out of the box to find solutions, he added.

Two men owning property on eroding beaches suggested the county pursue legal action to slow vessel speeds in the eroding reaches.

"Georgia Pacific (Wauna paper mill) sued them and they slow down at Wauna," said Bob Volz. "They washed a barge onto a dock at Wauna."


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