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Port of Brookings Harbor to begin ambitious dredging plan

The proposed sediment stockpile area.

Posted on August 23, 2023

The Port of Brookings Harbor is about to launch a five-year dredging project to free the basins of over 38,000 cubic yards of sediment accumulation deposited because of devastating winter rains following the Chetco Bar fire.

This perfect storm of circumstances, with the fire denuding vast forested acreage, deposited over ten-times the typical amount of deposit leaving the basins of the port with some areas unusable, grounding boats and docks at zero low tide.

“Without this dredging all the boats that come in off the ocean… park in a slip, utilize our launch ramp or haul-out facilities would continue to struggle with high sediment volume. We’d need to continue to close docks down, and the port would continue to struggle financially. Everything that people love down here is impacted by this.” Travis Webster, Manager of the Port of Brookings Harbor told the Pilot. “Right now, when a boat wants to come in, we need to put them somewhere, no matter what the tide, so that the boat will stay floating. We have to juggle slips based on the size and depth of that vessel.” Webster said.


Port management has been planning and engineering this essential maintenance since 2019. The port will use a $1,835,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) toward a total budget of $2,447,000 that will allow the port to purchase its own dredging equipment to immediately clear the two basins of about 19,000 cubic yards each, and a further 100,000 cubic yards after the initial five-year project is complete. Previously the port needed to use state or other rented dredging equipment.

The port dredging plan.

Most of the dredging equipment used until now has been heavy duty diesel and hydraulic-oil-dependent machinery, with the allied contaminants. The new machine the port is purchasing will utilize electric pumps and motors powered by an letric generator, eliminating most of the limitations of the older gear. This new design also allows the dredge to move efficiently through the harbor, controlled by a sole operator on the docks via remote control, as opposed to a crew on-board a barge.

Sediment deposit and treatment plant

The sediment, an aggregate of sand, soil, and mud, removed from the basins will be deposited into an area the port has laid out, near the ice plant, between the two basins will be fed by a pipeline from the dredge. There the aggregate will dewater, to be repurposed to other uses such as concrete component or similar applications .

The port also is planning a waste treatment facility that will allow the expansion of the existing seafood processing plant that would allow it to handle more varieties of product such as crab or ground fish, rather than the current shrimp. The treatment plant will be modular, allowing for expansion to other uses such as breweries or other seafoods processing.

These plans are currently being developed through a senate appropriation of EPA funds that provide the port about $3,500,000, to construct the waste water treatment plant.


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