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

Dredge spoils: some get them, some won't


September 5, 2019

Some of Wahkiakum County's eroding beaches will receive dredge spoil replenishment this year, and some won't.

Residents of the Cape Horn neighborhood last week learned they can expect a Port of Portland dredging crew to begin depositing spoils along their waterfront. Estimated starting date is September 27.

Dredging crew members and US Army Corps of Engineers personnel walked the beach last week with Cape Horn residents to talk about the process.

Depositing the sand will take approximately three weeks. Crews will be on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The crews will run a pipeline up to the beach, and the dredge will pump a slurry of sand and water onto the beach where bulldozers will spread the sand to a depth of 10.5 feet.

However, residents of the county's three other erosion zone control districts on Puget Island won't receive sand this year.

Depending on a couple factors, Pancake Point on East Sunny Sands may receive sand in 2020, Wahkiakum County Public Works Director Chuck Beyer said Tuesday.

The Port of Portland will survey the river bottom in that area this winter to determine how much sand needs to be dredged. If the volume is greater than the Pancake Point beach nourishment site, dredgers may deposit the spoils inside the dike on farmland that has been leased for use as a long-term spoils site by the upriver ports association.

"If our site doesn't have the capacity for the sand they have, they won't want to use it," Beyer said.

"We want them to fill our site first," said Commissioner Dan Cothren. "We have one site taken care of, now we'll start on the next one."

Beyer added that crews will start preparing the inland site some time later this year.

"The Corps was pretty optimistic for next year," Beyer said, "but things change."

Cothren added that county officials will emphasize the need for beach nourishment in the erosion zone outside the dike before the inland site is filled.


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