State to Fund Newport Dredging in Response to Federal Shutdown
Provided by State Rep. David Gomberg, D-Lincoln City
State Representative David Gomberg announced today that the legislative Coastal Caucus has worked with the Governor’s office to secure emergency strategic funding for dredging in Yaquina Bay. The Bay was previously scheduled to be cleaned and deepened by the Army Corp of Engineers. However, approaching winter weather means the project would be delayed due to the federal government shutdown. Since such important dredging cannot be delayed until Federal money again becomes available, infusion of state funding will allow work to go forward as scheduled.
“We have limited funds and a limited time window to get this job done,” said Gomberg.
“The Federal budget crisis slammed that window closed. But some really great work by the Coastal Caucus pried it back open. And that is important news. Without fall maintenance, industrial and recreational traffic will be at risk. I would especially like to thank my colleagues Sen. Kruse, Sen. Johnson, Sen. Roblan, and Sen. Devlin, along with the governor’s staff for supporting infrastructure on the Central Coast.”
The dredge Yaquina has just completed work on the Umpqua. Due to the federal shutdown it was scheduled to steam to the Columbia River and then into dry dock. The additional state funds mean the dredge can work on Yaquina Bay before it heads up the coast to Portland.
Dredging work on Yaquina Bay could begin as early as Wednesday, October 9th.
Background: At Yaquina Bay, approximately 300,000 to 500,000 cubic yards of material builds up on the entrance every year. The Corps has historically removed between 200,000 – 300,000 cubic yards of this material in 24-30 dredging days. This removal addresses life and safety issues at the Bay entrance. Despite dredging at the entrance being completed last July, material has already begun building back up. If the Yaquina Bay entrance is not dredged this October, conditions will become more dangerous throughout the winter. In addition, plans to start operations at the new international dock in November may be at risk if the entrance is not dredged.
Federal Government Shutdown: Typically, heading into the winter season (when no dredging can be accomplished), the Corps would utilize up to 5 dredging days of Federal funds to clean up the entrance and possibly remove some material from the shoal that has formed near the turning basin. This effort would meet minimal life and safety concerns for the entrance and address a shoaling in the upper channel to allow loading of deep draft vessels. However, the Federal Government Shutdown has delayed the work beyond the acceptable season. The Corps is unable to complete work this October unless State funds are tapped.
Proposed Plan: The dredge Yaquina has just completed work on the Umpqua. It was scheduled to shift to the Columbia River and then into dry dock. With additional State funds for Yaquina Bay and if weather allows, the dredge can work here prior to heading to the Columbia River.