Officials Need Permanent Solution for Baker Bay Dredging Project Funding (USA)

The dredging crane working these last weeks in Baker Bay gives an incomplete picture of the complexity of the issues lurking in the silt and sand below the surface of the bay.

The political clout needed to annually lobby for federal dredging funds is taking its toll on Chinook and Ilwaco port managers, Dan Todd and Jim Neva respectively, and other local fisheries advocates. Dredging every two or three years is a must to keep the ports open.

Todd put it bluntly, “If we lose Murray in this election, we could lose our earmark for dredging.”

“Some years there’s money and some years there’s not. Senator Murray is on the waterways and transportation committee and she has a lot of pull. She holds the President’s ear because she is so high ranking,” he continued.

“Baird and Murray have made sure we get our appropriations for dredging, but this election makes me very nervous. The last time we had a Republican Senate and Congress, there was no money for small ports and we went several years with no dredging. I lost boats because of it.”

“We’ve got to fight for every dollar we get. A lot of people don’t understand that,” he added.

The funds for dredging Baker Bay for port access come primarily from federal allocations. First money is “appropriated” but that is not the end of the story because that appropriation must be funded. Once the funding is established, the project must still be voted on and approved. It is a complex and arcane political dance.

By Cate Gable (chinookobserver)


Source: chinookobserver, October 27, 2010;