USA: Army Corps to Dredge Ilwaco Channel

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct dredging operations in the Ilwaco Channel to remove shoaling that the U.S. Coast Guard has identified as a hazard to their ability to perform rescue operations at the Columbia River Bar.

The Coast Guard contacted the Portland District in late January with concerns about the shoal and its impact on the agency’s Search and Rescue mission. Hydrographic surveys of the area confirmed the shoal has significantly reduced channel depth and width, prompting the Corps to take quick action to minimize life and safety risks. The channel still has a small area through which the Coast Guard vessels can pass, but it is difficult passage under good conditions.

Due to the urgent and compelling nature of the channel’s condition, dredging must be done outside the normal in-water work period. The Corps has contacted and coordinated with state and federal regulatory agencies including the Washington Department of Ecology, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Plans for the project are designed to minimize environmental impacts to the greatest extent possible.

A contractor working for the Portland District will begin removing the shoal around the first week of April. It is expected to take 30 days to remove approximately 83,000 cubic yards of material.

[mappress]

Dredging Today Staff, March 2, 2012

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