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

Dredging permits nearly finished


The stars seem to be aligning for Wahkiakum County's efforts to obtain dredge spoils for eroding beaches.

County officials, their consulting engineers, and representatives of the US Army Corps of Engineers met last week, and the parties agreed that after some final adjustments, the beach nourishment project permits will be approved.

"It looks like we're there," Commissioner Dan Cothren told residents of the Cape Horn zone on Tuesday.

Cothren added that there appears be sand available for Cape Horn and Pancake Point on Puget Island, where erosion is threatening houses and out buildings.

The North Welcome Slough zone needs adjustment, Corps staff said, and wetland mitigation has been an issue there.

At Cape Horn, two culverts will need drainage swales designed to avoid trapping salmonids in high water events; the county's consultant will draft plans for them.

The Corps has reduced the upstream boundary of the Cape Horn disposal zone because of its steep, rocky shoreline, which is considered fish habitat.

The lack of dredge spoils in that area will impact one family.

"That means I will have to take some action on my own to protect my property," said John Polworth.

Cothren said he feels the county needs to move forward with the projects that will be permitted this year.

"If something gets left behind, we'll have to come back to pick it up," he said.

In other business Tuesday at the board of commissioner's meeting:

--Commissioners approved a resolution recognizing next week as National Police Week, honoring law enforcement officers for their service and acknowledging their sacrifices and hardships.

--Commissioner Cothren reported attending a meeting last week with state Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials, the public and staff from Washington State University to discuss elk hoof rot disease.

Cothren said members of the public expressed dissatisfaction with WDFW and WSU efforts to address the disease.

However, Cothren said, WSU staff, who have a mandate to analyze the disease, were interested in input from Dr. Boone Mora, a retired Skamokawa resident who disagrees with the conclusions of WDFW biologists.

"Some of the stuff Boone brought up, WSU will take a look at," Cothren said. "That is a big leap."

--Cothren also reported that a group being formed to advise the Washington Department of Natural Resources on habitat management for marbled murrelets will meet later this month in Skamokawa.


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