Posted on October 20, 2015
Boaters and the recreational and commercial fishing community can look forward to easier launching and mooring as the Port of Bandon mobilizes for winter dredging of the launch ramp and marina this week.
Port General Manager Gina Dearth said that equipment, including a large crane, was scheduled to pick up and set in place in the marina a 360SL portable dredge as well as the push work boat on Wednesday. Dearth said 3,000 feet of dredge pipe will arrive later in the week.
“We have spent the last two years obtaining U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits and are fully permitted,” Dearth said.
Once the dredge is in place, dredging will occur on the high outgoing tide through the outfall pipe and into the Coquille River channel, as allowed by a flow lane permit issued by the state. The in-water work window is Oct. 1 to Feb. 15, 2016.
“Once we are fully underway the port launch ramp will be closed to accommodate equipment and piping,” Dearth said. “Launching can still occur at Bullards Beach State Park. At times the entire launch parking ramp may be closed to accommodate staging.”
The brand-new 24-foot by 10-foot push boat and dredge are coming separately on flatbed trailers and will be staged in the gravel parking lot on Fillmore Avenue and First Street. The city of Bandon will assist in getting the dredge staged for use.
The dredging is a joint project among the South Coast Ports Coalition and made possible through the purchase of the dredge and the push boat by the State of Oregon, with the cooperation of Oregon legislators, the Coastal Caucus and the Governor’s office. The only expense to South Coast ports will be labor costs. The Port of Brookings, Bandon and the Port of Coos Bay’s Charleston marina have all had training on how to run the dredge, Dearth said. Harbormaster Bob Shammot will operate the dredge in Bandon.
The dredge will remove 47,000 cubic yards of silt from the marina and the launch ramp, which has been only functional at high tide. The marina and launch ramp fill with silt from winter freshets.
“It’s amazing how much money (this process) going to save the state,” Dearth said. “They finally understood the importance of small ports and what they contribute to the local economies.”
Once the dredging is complete in Bandon, the dredge and push boat will be transported to another small port that has its flow lane permits in place.
Dearth invites the public to come watch the dredging process and asks for patience as the work is being completed. Anyone who would like an update or who has questions can call the port office at 541-347-3206.
Meanwhile, the USACE dredge of the Yaquina, which yearly dredges in the Coquille River bar and bay, did not make it to Bandon this year. The dredge usually comes in early July and again in early September. In past years, federal funding has been an issue, but this year, the funding was in place. The Port of Bandon was appropriated to receive dredging, but the dredge never came.
“Every time there was a window to dredge us, the Yaquina was somewhere else,” Dearth said.
The ports of Brookings, Gold Beach, and Siuslaw all were dredged. Port Orford also was dredged, but not by the Yaquina, as that port sits on the ocean rather than at the mouth of a river, so a different process is used.
Dearth said she and members of the port commission are extremely frustrated over the issue.
“The Coquille River bar is now in the worst shape I have ever seen it in all the years I’ve been here,” Dearth said.
The bar is silted in to 8 feet in depth and is usually dredged to 11 feet. Dearth said boats are still crossing the bar and it’s relatively safe when the river is flat, but not when there are swells or wind.
“Then it’s really dangerous,” Dearth added. “It’s always dangerous, but particularly now.”
Dredging of the Coquille River bar will now likely not happen until next spring, she said.
The Port of Bandon recently hosted the Oregon Public Ports Association, with 23 ports represented at a meeting at The Barn and dinner at Edgewater’s.
The Old Town Marketplace continues to create revenue for the port and for vendors. The last marketplace for the season will be Dec. 19.