To restore flood protection for the Shoalwater Bay Tribal community and cultural lands, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, is reconstructing a sand dune in Willapa Bay near the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation.
Crews from Manson Construction Co. of Seattle will begin staging heavy equipment in the repair area July 10. Dredging and repair is scheduled to start July 27 and last until mid-October.
Impacts to vehicle traffic and marine traffic are expected to be minimal. For the duration of the project, portions of the beach will be inaccessible due to the presence of heavy equipment and dredge fill operations. Dredging activities and construction will be performed 24/7 from mid-July to mid-October and there will be increased ATV traffic traversing the beach during this time.
The project is a $19.9 million federally-funded dune repair project that provides coastal storm damage protection. In addition, the project will maintain habitat for the Pacific Coast western snowy plover and streaked horned lark, two bird species federally listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened.
“Three major storms between December 2015 and October 2016 completely destroyed the northern portion of the sand spit and significantly eroded the remaining portion of the dune, threatening the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation, including culturally and ecologically significant wetland areas,” said Daryl Downing, the Corps’ project manager for the repair effort.
Repair work includes dredging approximately 750,000 cubic yards of sand from a borrow site providing materials to rebuild the 12,500 foot-long protective berm.
Prior to beginning the work, the Corps consulted with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Historic Preservation Office, and the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe.