County's dredging permits ready to sign


Residents of the Little Cape Horn community were all smiles Tuesday as they received word that federal authorities are ready to approve the permit needed to allow placement of dredge sand on the eroding shoreline in front of their houses.

The final review is over, said Commissioner Dan Cothren, and the permit is going to the regional director of the US Army Corps of Engineers for signature.

The last hurdle was approval of the county's plan to avoid disturbing the June nesting period for the streak horned lark, an endangered species found at the lower end of Puget Island.

"(US) Fish and Wildlife (Service) signed off on the lark," Cothren said. "That was huge."

"The Seattle office (of the Corps) is putting together the final permit approval for final sign off this week, and then we're ready to go," said county Public Works Director Chuck Beyer.

"The Army Corps has everything they need to finalize the permits," said Dena Horton, Southwest Washington Outreach Director for US Senator Maria Cantwell. The county has relied on offices of Senators Cantwell and Patty Murray and Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler to help shepherd the county's application through the permitting process.

Once the permit is signed, Corps personnel will conduct surveys to locate shoals needing dredging.

Cothren said he is confident there will be a good volume of sand for Cape Horn. Dredging would likely occur in July or later. Corps representatives will meet with waterfront property owners to discuss impacts and concerns to address before crews come ashore to handle the dredged sand.

The county will host a workshop in June with Seattle office Corps personnel so that local residents can discuss issues with them.

The Corps's Seattle office handles permit processing for Washington based projects; staff in the Portland office coordinate the dredging program.


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