Depoe Bay Harbor couldn’t get federal funding this year to have a dredger come in and clean out the bottom of the harbor, like they do every five years. So on year six, the gods got together and dumped a lot of sand and sediment into the southeast corner of the bay causing all kinds of problems…not the least of which is getting access to marine fuel.
But it’s not acquatic Armaggeddon…yet. Commercial and private fishing boats can still come and go at high tide and during both shoulders. But low tide means a number of boats are sitting on the bottom. And access to the fuel dock is cut off.
City officials say that Oregon’s Congressional delegation is working to ensure that Depoe Bay gets dredged FOR SURE next year. But if the federal budget is slow to get adopted as it was this year, it could get dicey in the harbor.
So again, boats in Depoe Bay can come and got pretty much as normal, but for those on Dock 4, not so much. The Coast Guard at the north end can operate normally but they too are working with shallower depths than normal. So let’s hope next year is the year the harbor gets dredged.
Factors causing the heightened erosion include the long-time gap since the last dredging of the harbor. The small dam at the southeast corner of the harbor has been silting up for a long time as creeks bring down logging debris and heavy sediment.The amount of sediment in creeks and waterways feeding Depoe Bay has been worsened by aggressive clear cutting of timber on the hills east of town. Silt and soil has nothing to stop it from running down-hill when there are no trees and no brush to slow it down in its rush toward the sea. Many have blamed wholesale clear cutting of timber in Lincoln County and others for destroying wildlife habitat – some even speculating that the dramatic increase in Mountain Lion sightings close to and sometimes within human inhabited areas is drawing Cougars closer to the coast where food still exists.