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

County commission discusses milfoil, slide

 

March 18, 2021

WSDOT photo.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has closed SR 401 after a portion began sliding away after February rains. The department is studying how to stabilize the hillside and reopen the highway.

Wahkiakum County's Noxious Weed Program should be able to spray herbicide on invasive milfoil in Puget Island water ways in the coming spring season, county commissioners said Tuesday.

Puget Island resident Mirjami Laukkanen raised the issue in the board's Tuesday meeting public comment period.

"Come July, we won't have any waterfront," she said of her home's Welcome Slough shoreline.

Commissioners said they believe spraying will occur before July. The county's weed board is working with colleagues in Cowlitz County on a cooperative permitting and application program.

"There is progress being made," said Commissioners Lee Tischer.

Commissioner Dan Cothren commented that herbicide application will occur when permitting allows.

"We have to go with what the fish windows are," Cothren said.

In other business, commissioners expressed concern that traffic detouring away from the slide that has closed SR 401 will overwhelm Puget Island ferry service.

"There's a lot of traffic on that road and it's just going to get worse," Cothren said. "We are going to see an abundance of people going that way, and the ferry will get full. I've seen it full."

Commissioners said that if the ferry has to start running continuously, the state should assume operating costs as it does when SR 4 is closed in an emergency.

"The state's going to have to step up to the plate," Cothren said. "It's just going to get worse as we go.

 

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