Dutch Harbor Dredging Project Available for Comment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing a Draft Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Assessment for the Unalaska Channels, also known as Dutch Harbor.

The proposed project and potential environmental impacts are described in the draft report, which is being submitted to elicit public review and comment on the Corps’ tentatively selected plan to dredge a bar at the entrance to Iliuliuk Bay that prevents deeper draft vessels from safely passing and accessing the Port of Dutch Harbor.

If approved, the Unalaska Channels deepening project is expected to cost approximately $15.8 million (FY18 dollars).

The City of Unalaska is located in the Aleutian Islands, some 800 air miles from Anchorage. Dutch Harbor is a port facility on Amaknak Island within the city. Dutch Harbor is the only deep draft, year-round ice-free port along the 1,200-mile Aleutian Island chain. It provides vital services to vessels operating in both the North Pacific and the Bering Sea.

A bar shallower than the surrounding bathymetry located at the entrance to Iliuliuk Bay currently limits access to Dutch Harbor. Based on the most recent bathymetry, the depth at the bar is -42 feet Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW).

Deadline for sending comments on the proposed Unalaska deepening is April 16, 2018.

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