Columbia River dredging underway

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District just shared this beautiful photo of the deep draft hopper dredge Essayons working at the mouth of the Columbia River.

According to the Corps, over the next several weeks the Essayons will dredge sand from the Columbia River bar, the world’s most dangerous entrance to a major commercial waterway.

This is where the river dissipates into the Pacific Ocean, often in the form of massive standing waves.

Conditions are intense and can change by the hour.

The project can only be dredged during the calmer weather between June and early November and it’s vital work for the economy.

Maintaining this extremely hazardous part of the navigation channel ensures safe passage for both commercial and recreational vessels.

In 2016, more than 50 million tons of cargo (or $21 billion worth) moved through the deep draft Lower Columbia River.

Some 40,000 jobs are dependent on the trades whose goods pass through each year.

The jetties USACE maintains here and their annual dredging operations make this all possible.

Photo: Kevin Waisanen, Portland District