With information from Sen. Wyden’s office
WASHINGTON, D.C. – An amendment sponsored by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) that will increase the chances that much needed maintenance and dredging money gets to small ports, including those on the Oregon Coast, is part of a water resources bill passed by the United States this week. The news comes as great relief to a number of shallow draft ports that have been silting up to the point that vessels are having difficulty getting to fuel and utility docks from Bandon to Garibaldi, even at high tide.
As part of the Water Resources Development Act, sponsored by Sen. Wyden and co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, the legislation has raised the spirits of port commissions, commercial and charter boat owners and recreational boaters.
The amendment, one of several in the bill important to Oregonians, directs the Army Corps of Engineers to use money left over from maintenance of high-use, deep-draft ports and the Great Lakes Navigation System for moderate- and low-use port projects that have not been maintained in the preceding six years.
“Ports up and down the Oregon Coast, both big and small, are the engines that drive the economic health of coastal communities,” Wyden said. “I want to ensure that Oregon’s smaller ports are taken care of and get the much-needed maintenance and dredging that is critical to their community’s survival.”
The amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), was included in the Water Resources Development Act that now goes to the House where it is expected to pass.
The Oregon ports potentially benefiting from the Wyden amendment include: Brookings Harbor, Gold Beach, Port Orford, Bandon, Coos Bay and Charleston Boat Harbor, Umpqua, Siuslaw, Toledo, Newport, Depoe Bay and Garibaldi.
The Senate version of the water resources bill provides $1.6 billion in vital funding to address navigation infrastructure needs over the long-term. The increased funding is critical to ensuring that Oregon’s smaller ports receive much needed dredging and maintenance.