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

Port, town officials review dredge work


Commissioners tackled several issues at the Wahkiakum County Port 1 meeting last Thursday, including how to deal with boaters who were ignoring codes of conduct and causing damage, dredge spoils, and the farmers market.

Mayor Dale Jacobson was in attendance with the Town of Cathlamet’s Public Works Superintendent Duncan Cruickshank.

Jacobson said that the town had completed their waterfront park plan and would soon be looking for grants. He asked the commissioners when they planned to move dredge spoils to the front sewer pond.

“If we could get it done before the end of summer it would be great,” Jacobson said.

Dredging and the empty sewer ponds have been beneficial to both the port and the town. While the sewer ponds provided a location for the port to place dredge spoils, the dredge spoils are being used to fill the former sewer ponds, moving the town closer to achieving their dream of a waterfront park, and cutting down on costs for all involved. The town owns most of the land, but the port owns a portion of it as well.

More than one person remarked that it was still too wet over there to move the spoils.

“According to our Corps of Engineers permit, to dewater the way we’re doing it is the way they want us to do it,” Commissioner Scott Anderson said. “We would be shooting ourselves in the foot if we moved stuff in there right now.”

Anderson was mostly right, Port Manager Jackie Lea later said by phone.

According to Lea, the port is following a de-watering plan set up by the Department of Ecology. They are handling the spoils on the advice of experienced personnel from the Port of Portland.

Lea went on to say that the soil dries from the top down and until it dries completely, the soil will be soft and have a kind of quicksand quality to it. If the port were to move heavy equipment into the ponds to move the spoils they could risk damage to the equipment or risk getting stuck, which would require larger equipment for extraction.

“I was thinking it was going to fill up this year and you would be done,” Cruickshank said regarding the front sewer pond and the volume of dredge spoils.

“I’ve been to city council and my statement was that it would be years before that project is going to be completed,” Anderson said in response.

In March, the consultant for the project, Maul, Foster & Alongi, estimated that the port had moved 10,000 cubic yards of sediment during their first season of dredging. In November, the port will begin dredging again, but they don’t expect to have as much volume by the time the window closes again at the end of February, 2019.


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