Dutra Group Explains Reasons of Dredging at Siuslaw River (USA)

The Dutra Group and U.S. Army Corps explain the month-long operations up and down Siuslaw River.

As they have watched the interplay of tug and barge on the Siuslaw River and their movements out to sea, some of our readers have asked about the nuts and bolts of the Port of Siuslaw dredging that began in late June and ended Aug. 9.

Why dredge the port? The dredging project was a maintenance project that removed 97,000 cubic yards of material from the federally authorized channel and turning basin at the Port of Siuslaw. The turning basin at the port begins on the east side of the Siuslaw River Bridge and extends to the boat launch area of the port.

The turning basin was created in 1968.

“This is really about maintaining infrastructure,” said Port Manager Mark Freeman. “It has the same significance as maintaining bridges and roads.”

A turning basin, just as it sounds, is an area that allows a boat or ship to turn around to enter or exit the marina. The port’s was too shallow, making it very difficult for larger vessels to navigate the area. According to Project Manager John Craig of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, there were spots as shallow as 9 to 10 feet. The authorized depth for a turning basin is 16 feet. The last significant dredging of the turning basin was in June 1974.

Was the current project successful? Steve Durham, project superintendent for the Dutra Group (the company contracted by the Corps of Engineers) reports that the post dredge survey conducted by the Corps showed that the dredging operation was very successful, and that the depth reached was up to 17 feet. A post dredge survey is standard procedure conducted to ensure that all material has been removed as specified per contract and the dredged area is down to the proper depth.

Were any local people hired during the dredging operation? Dan Wheeler, part of the Dutra Group staff, said that the company had eight regular staff members. Five or six local deckhands were hired through Operating Engineers Local 701. The crews worked two shifts per day.

What kind of dredge was used? There are two main types of dredges: mechanical and hydraulic.

By Amy Bartlett thesiuslawnews

Source: thesiuslawnews, August 11, 2010;