Grays Harbor Deepening One Step Closer

Deepening of the Grays Harbor Navigation Channel to its fully authorized depth will begin this fall with the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement by Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson, Senator Patty Murray and Colonel John G. Buck of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Port of Grays Harbor Commissioners and staff celebrated a pivotal milestone with the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) for the Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project on Tuesday, May 26, 2015, at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Seattle District Headquarters.

U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Colonel John G. Buck, Commander of the Seattle District USACE, joined Port Commissioners Jack Thompson and Stan Pinnick, Executive Director Gary Nelson and ILWU Local 24 President Mike Brown for the ceremonial signing of the PPA which allows the project to begin construction later this fall.

Washington State’s only deep-water port directly on the Pacific Coast, the Grays Harbor Navigation Channel was authorized by Congress to a depth of -38 feet MLLW in 1986. Construction of Phase I was completed in 1991, improving the channel to a depth of -36 feet MLLW.

Efforts for Phase II, constructing the channel to its fully authorized depth of -38 feet, began in 2007 and have included feasibility reports, biological assessments, impact mitigation studies, environmental assessments and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement completed in June 2014.

In August 2014, USACE Brigadier General John Kem of the Northwestern Division signed the Record of Decision (ROD), officially recommending deepening the channel to -38 feet MLLW and that it was technically feasible, environmentally justified, cost effective and in accordance with environmental statutes and public interest.

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