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Comment period extended for Grays Harbor dredging

March 13, 2014

The public comment period for dredging Grays Harbor an additional 2 feet has been extended.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a release to KXRO that comments for the Grays Harbor Navigation Improvement Project draft limited reevaluation report and draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement will now be accepted through April 8.

The Corps propose deepening the channel from the current -36” down to -38”. According to project lead Josh Jackson, this would allow more opportunity for vessel traffic at the Port of Grays Harbor. This project is not to facilitate new commodities or vessels; only allowing for more traffic as the Port continues to grow.

According to a draft supplemental environmental impact statement, the purpose of the dredging would be to “reduce navigation transportation costs for the existing and projected future traffic” of the Port. The need they say is to open up opportunities. At -36”, and the navigational windows, deep draft vessels coming in have to be partially loaded or experience tidal delays due to the insufficient depth.

In the draft document, the possibilities of crude by rail are factored in, although a separate draft shows little change in the overall benefit of the dredging if crude does not come to Grays Harbor said Colonel Bruce Estok.

The Corps maintains the waterway now by dredging the deep draft channel annually at an average cost of $9 million, removing an average annual volume of about 1.7 million cubic yards of material. By deepening another 2 feet, this would require a one time removal of 1,7,52,000 cubic yards of material and an annual increase of 107,000 cubic yards. The total project costs would be $20,385,000.

The draft reevaluation report, draft supplemental EIS and appendices are available to review on line at: http://1.usa.gov/MS6jUw or through Seattle District’s main website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil by clicking on “Grays Harbor Navigation” under the “Most Requested” column.

Comments can be sent via email to: GraysHarborComments@usace.army.mil or through the mail to Josh Jackson, CENWS-PM-CP, PO Box 3755, Seattle, WA 98124-3755.

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