USA: Meeting on Grays Harbor Development Set for December 5
A public information meeting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project begins at 6:30 p.m., Dec. 5, at the Port of Grays Harbor offices in Aberdeen, Wash.
The meeting will focus on the status of the Corps’ General Investigation, a navigation study overview, data relating to the project’s environmental review and the future timeline. Army Corps officials will begin the meeting with a presentation. Following the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions about specific items of interest in an open house setting.
The Grays Harbor federal navigation deep draft channel is 250 feet wide at Cosmopolis, increasing to 1,000 feet over the Bar at the mouth of Grays Harbor. The currently maintained channel depth is -36 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) from the South Reach to the Cow Point Reach, where Port of Grays Harbor Terminal 4 is located. The channel then decreases to -32 feet MLLW through Cosmopolis.
The Corps is investigating the feasibility of dredging the channel from the South Reach upstream to Cow Point to its fully authorized depth of -38 feet MLLW. This project covers approximately 14.5 miles of the 27.5 mile channel. Deepening of the relevant portion of the Grays Harbor navigation channel to -38 feet MLLW was authorized by Congress in 1986, but a 1989 economic evaluation found that dredging only to -36 feet MLLW was economically justified at that time. The study will evaluate implementing the previously authorized -38-foot depth through a Limited Reevaluation Report and a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), building on the original 1982 EIS and its 1989 Supplement.
The Corps dredges the deep draft channel annually at an average cost of $9 million. The annual volume removed averages 1.7 million cubic yards. Westport Marina and the entrance channel require infrequent maintenance dredging. However, periodic maintenance of the groin, revetment and breakwater structures is currently required.
Although there are overlapping resource considerations, such as disposition of material dredged from a deepened channel, this Navigation Improvement Project is distinct from and independent of the Long Term Management Strategy addressing operation and maintenance of the present channel.
Press Release, November 23, 2012