The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin annual Grays Harbor maintenance dredging in the Outer Harbor April 1, 2016.
Seattle-based Manson Construction Co., is contracted to dredge one and a quarter million cubic yards of material out of the navigation channel from the bar to the middle of the harbor, working through May 31.
Manson’s Bayport Dredge will place material at the existing South Beach nourishment site and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources-managed Point Chehalis open water disposal site.
Crab pots in the navigation channel, access channel to the South Beach disposal area and both disposal sites need to be moved by owners before April 1, according to Corps Seattle District officials.
Fishermen and crabbers are encouraged to position themselves and/or gear at least 300 feet from any channel and disposal area boundary in order to provide a buffer zone to allow for the gear drifting.
Gear that drifts into the navigation channel, access channel and/or disposal areas may be damaged or destroyed.
District officials work with state and federal agencies and Native American Nations to minimize harm to the aquatic ecosystem. They prepare a Biological Evaluation in accordance with the Endangered Species Act and Environmental Assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Corps officials assure full compliance with the acts prior to starting. Potential dredging and disposal operations impacts are also avoided through implementation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-designated timing restrictions. In addition, local crab fishermen assist by temporarily relocating during operations.
Portland District-assigned dredges Essayons and Yaquina typically support Seattle District Grays Harbor operations but will be conducting dredging elsewhere. Because of this, Manson Construction received the West Coast Hopper Maintenance Dredging 2016 project for nearly $18 million from the Portland District. The project involves maintenance dredging at Grays Harbor, San Francisco and Columbia River.