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

Commissioners seek key eroding beaches


October 19, 2017

Rick Nelson

Above and below: The dredge Oregon has deposited thousands of cubic yards of sand on the beach at Skamokawa Vista Park and continues disposal on Tenasillahe Island. Residents of Cape Horn and Puget Island hope Wahkiakum County officials will be able to have sand placed on their eroding beaches next year.

The Wahkiakum County board of commissioners revisited beach nourishment issues and covered other topics at their regular Tuesday meeting.

Commissioner Dan Cothren reported consulting engineers are moving ahead with what should be the final permits to bring dredge spoils to eroding beaches on Cape Horn and Puget Island.

However, the latest permit was added after the county set its initial budget, and Cothren said the county will have to add another $4,000 to the budget.

"We're working that out; the process is moving," he told residents with eroding waterfront. "We'll get these things done."

One sticking point still remains. For economic feasibility, the US Army Corps of Engineers requires a large disposal site, and all residents along the shoreline must sign right-of-entry easements to allow dredge crews to work along their waterfront.

Two landowners have yet to sign for the Pancake Point flood control zone district (FCZD) along East Sunny Sands. Commissioner Mike Backman has been speaking with them. One will likely sign once he receives detailed information about the work, including photos showing how eroded the shoreline was before the last beach nourishment project.

The other, Backman said, has property near the end of the zone and doesn't feel their shoreline needs additional sand or that the property should be included in the FCZD.

Commissioners said they would take whatever steps needed to get sand placed on the beach during the next dredging season.

"It will involve (Prosecuting Attorney) Dan Bigelow," said commission Chair Blair Brady.

"We need to get going," Cothren added.

Trish Shroyer, a resident of the Cape Horn FCZD, suggested Sunny Sands residents write personal letters to the property owners asking for support in protecting their property.

"It's, 'Join us; we would do it for you,'" she said.

In other business, the board approved a request from district and superior court officials to replace the court's aging recording system.

District Court Judge Heidi Heywood said the equipment is unpredictable and unstable, and the courts struggle to meet recording requirements.

Rick Nelson

The sun sets over Vista Park's new sand field.

Representing the Pioneer Community Association, Suzanne Holmes announced the group is sponsoring a town cleanup effort on October 28, 9 a.m. to 12 noon. They are challenging community groups to be involved and clear brush and clutter from the downtown area in Cathlamet.

Commissioner Cothren reported that in his vocation as security officer for Hancock Forest Industries, he had spent four days last week collecting garbage around logging road gates between Cathlamet and the coast.

He hauled several trailer loads to the Cowlitz County landfill and identified at least one person who dumped refuse.

"People start dumping stuff, and there's costs to the timber companies for that," Cothren said. "The companies aren't going to keep their lands open."


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