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

Commissioners review dredge progress, broadband


September 20, 2018

Wahkiakum County commissioners reviewed the status of beach nourishment plans and handled other business when they met Tuesday.

The board, acting as the commission for four flood control zone districts, is working with a consultant to obtain a 10-year plan for depositing dredge spoils on eroding beaches at Cape Horn and Puget Island.

Commissioners have said permits should be in order for deposits this fall at Cape Horn, but, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, there’s not enough volume for deposits at the other areas.

Liz Beutler, an East Sunny Sands property owner, said a dredge is removing sand from the river at Pancake Point and depositing it at an Oregon site.

“I know that is frustrating to see that,” said Commissioner Dan Cothren. “What they’ve talked about is that that sand isn’t for your beach.

“Remember this: They need to have volume to be [economically] feasible. It’s not a big volume that’s being moved there.”

Bruce Seiler, whose family has property at the lower end of the East Sunny Sands beach, asked what is being done to include that area in beach nourishment.

Cothren explained that the county had withdrawn the lower portion because the Corps was concerned that sand deposited there would erode into the ferry channel and cause unfunded expenses.

The county withdrew the area, Cothren said, in order to expedite permitting for the other areas and with the intention that they would work with the Corps to find a way to deposit sand there at some point in time.

“If we had kept you in, that could have put the whole thing back a couple years,” he said, adding, “What they’re trying to push for now is riprap.”

“We assume you understand that we are opposed to riprap without sand being deposited first,” said Marge Glasser, who owns property in the area.

“We totally understand,” Cothren said.

In other business, commissioners said they were consulting with the prosecuting attorney’s office to find an appropriate source for a $12,500 match for a grant application for a feasibility study on bringing broadband internet access to all areas of the county.

Commissioners had voted last week to supply the match and had also identified a county fund to supply the money.

“We were informed the information we had was incorrect,” Brady said.

He moved to consult with the prosecuting attorney’s office about an appropriate source, and the motion passed.

Puget Island resident Sylvia Costich, a retired municipal clerk, expressed concern that such a source would require that broadband be listed in the county’s comprehensive or economic development plans, and if it isn’t, the board would end up taking the money out of the Current Expense Fund, which, she said, commissioners say is cash strapped.

“We’ve addressed this and referred it to the prosecuting attorney,” Brady said.


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