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River, Channel Dredging on Tap for Summer

Posted on February 22, 2016

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will spend more than $60 million this summer dredging the main shipping channel on the Columbia River, along with $2.7 million deepening the lower Skipanon Channel.

Gov. Kate Brown’s office announced last week the state had received $85.2 million worth of work in the Corps’ 2016 work plan. The Lower Columbia received $43.8 million, the mouth of the Columbia $19.8 million and Skipanon $2.7 million. Dredging is needed to accommodate commercial fishing vessels and the Columbia River Bar Pilots’ vessels Columbia and Chinook.

Michelle Helms, a spokeswoman for the Corps, said dredging work usually occurs between July and September, adding the window for Skipanon dredging is between Aug. 1 and Dec. 15. She said the river will typically be dredged to 16 feet, although the depth has not been set.

The Port of Ilwaco, Washington, received $1.4 million worth of work this year to maintain the channel from Baker Bay to the Columbia, although the Port of Chinook did not receive funding to study replacing pile dikes that keep sediment out of the Ilwaco and Chinook port channels.

The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, a regional, multi-industry association that focuses on trade, navigation and economic development policies, had stumped on behalf of small ports.

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