Last month, after nearly 9 years of scientific studies and regulatory work with state and federal agencies, the Port of Everett received its marina maintenance dredging permit for the South and Central docks.
The permit was issued based on a unique scientific study, called a bioaccumulation study, that demonstrated the dredge material is environmentally acceptable for placement at the Port Gardner Bay open water dredge material disposal site.
The permit was extremely important because without it, dredging the marina would be cost prohibitive – seeing a price tag increase from roughly $5 million to $50 million for conducting one round of maintenance dredging within the South and Central Marinas, reported the Port.
There are 10 separate open water disposal sites located throughout Washington State that have been used since the 1980s to provide a safe and cost-effective place to put navigation dredge material. They are managed by the Dredged Material Management Program.
According to the Port, this program exists to facilitate navigation and maritime commerce, while guaranteeing protection of Washington’s aquatic environment. The sites are all located in deep water – selected by state and federal agencies because at these depths there is much less biological activity than in shallower areas.
In Port Gardner Bay, the site sits in water that is more than 500-ft deep. While the Port and other agencies have relied on these open water disposal sites for decades, recent policies by the state and federal permitting agencies have made the testing parameters and methods more stringent and science based.
The Port of Everett worked with the agencies for years within the new policies and went through a rigorous scientific process to ultimately obtain this highly important open water suitability determination for the Port’s marina dredge spoils.