SEATTLE, Wash. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, announced that the annual maintenance dredging of the Federal navigation channel in the Grays Harbor Inner Harbor will begin today and continue through Feb. 14, 2014 – the time of year particularly suited for dredging to ensure the least impact to aquatic species and resources.
Removal of approximately 1 million cubic yards of material will begin in the inner harbor near Aberdeen, Wash., extending to the middle of the harbor. The Corps’ Seattle District awarded a $4.2 million dredging contract to American Construction Co., Inc., of Tacoma, Wash. The project is expected to be completed by Feb. 15.
The channel requires annual dredging to allow shipping from the Pacific Ocean to the head of the navigation channel at Cosmopolis, Wash. Shoaling, sedimentation filling in the channel, reduces the ability of ships to enter and leave safely under full load or during low tide conditions.
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Corps officials worked with state and Federal agencies and Native American Nations to minimize harm to the aquatic ecosystem. They prepared a Biological Evaluation in accordance with the Endangered Species Act and Environmental Assessment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The 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 to the environmental concerns, Corps proposed dredging is confined to removal of recently deposited sediments within the previously dredged channel. By limiting the dredging width and depth, any possible submerged cultural resources are not affected.