Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dredging Funded for the South End of Swinomish Channel

La Conner – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work plan for fiscal year 2014 includes $920,000 to dredge the south end of the Swinomish Channel, federal officials announced this week.

Corps officials are working on environmental documentation for the project and hope to start work in fall 2014, said John Hicks, chief of the Navigation Section at the Seattle District, Army Corps of Engineers.  “We are now in high gear to get this done,” Hicks added.

A survey of sedimentation in the Swinomish Channel, completed in December 2013, found that shoaling has occurred in several spots at the south end of the channel since the last round of dredging was completed the previous January. The channel remains in good condition north of Hole-in-the-Wall, the survey found.

The channel, first dredged more than a century ago, extends through former sloughs and portions of the Skagit and Samish River delta deposits. Due to heavy sedimentation, the channel must be dredged at least every three years to maintain navigable depths for commercial and recreational vessels. It is authorized to a depth of minus 12 feet MLLW.

The Port of Skagit, which owns and operates the La Conner Marina, is an active participant in the ongoing effort to ensure the channel remains a navigable waterway. Other partners include the Town of La Conner, the Port of Anacortes, Skagit County, the Shelter Bay Community, Dunlap Towing, and the Swinomish and Upper Skagit tribes.

“I want to thank you for the effective efforts by all of you, but especially the Upper Skagit Nation, in helping to get funding for the dredging of the Federal Channel at La Conner,” Hicks said in an email message to the partners. “This funding could not have been accomplished without all of your hard and persistent work.”

Patsy Martin, executive director of the Port of Skagit, also acknowledged the efforts of the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. “Great thanks to the Upper Skagit tribe for their diligent efforts to explain the importance of the channel to both tribes’ fishing interests, along with the needs of commercial and pleasure boaters for a safe passage through this area,” she said.

From the Port Of Skagit.  Reposted from: