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Willow Grove Boat Launch Dredging Delayed One Year

Posted on October 12, 2015

It will be another year before the boat launch at Willow Grove will get dredged, and it’s anyone’s guess if it still will be usable by then.

Delays in getting the park transferred from Cowlitz County to the Port of Longview means the dredging project, estimated to cost $250,000, must be rescheduled until next fall, port spokeswoman Ashley Helenberg said Friday.

The launch is still usable, and there’s about seven feet of depth, said Dan Bean, parks manager for the county. But one of the three side docks is shoaled in. And if no dredging occurs for a year, silt could become a larger problem, though how much is uncertain, he said.

To protect endangered salmon runs, dredging is allowed only during a 2.5 month window each fall, which this year would have been Oct. 1 through Dec. 12, Helenberg said.

The port has been trying to take over the popular park from Cowlitz County for more than a year; the county says it can no longer afford the upkeep. Delays in transferring a lease for 45 acres of state-owned aquatic lands from the county to the port have held up the transfer of park ownership.

“We still have not taken over ownership of the boat launch. We can’t dredge someone else’s property,” Helenberg said.

The issue may be resolved soon, and documents transferring the park to the port should be brought to the port commission at an upcoming meeting, she said. But the matter will have been resolved too late to get dredging going this fall, Helenberg added.

The port budgeted $250,000 in 2015 to dredge out the boat launch. It has applied for permits for the work, which will involve dredging 4,500 cubic yards of silt from the launch.

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