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Posted 10/26/2017

Release no. 17-053


The proposed expansion would double the current nearshore placement site, extending the southern boundary by approximately 800 feet to the south. The new dimensions would measure 800 by 1,600 feet, covering an area of about 30 acres.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comments on a proposal to expand the nearshore dredge material placement site we use in maintaining the navigation channel near Port Orford, located on the southern coast of Oregon.

The Corps’ proposal would double the size of the placement area, expanding the southern boundary of the existing 800-by-800 feet area by another 800 feet. This expansion is important for the continued maintenance of the Port Orford channel because it would allow placement of material over a larger area, reducing navigation risks from mounding.

The Corps provides a safe and reliable navigation channel near the Port by removing unsafe and restricting shoals, which are shallow areas that form over time and can pose a navigation hazard. In order to maintain the channel at its authorized depth, the Corps uses dredge vessels to strategically excavate the channel bed, gathering up bottom sediments from shoals and placing them at the nearshore placement area a couple of hundred feet from the edge of the breakwater.

Expansion of the placement area may also benefit aquatic resources by reducing the amount of sediment placed over bottom-dwelling organisms that inhabit the sediment surface and sub-surface of the ocean bottom. This expansion would not increase the amount of annual dredging.

The Corps has prepared a draft environmental assessment for this proposal in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The assessment includes a brief discussion of the need for the expansion of the nearshore placement site, as well as environmental considerations resulting from the expansion. The Corps will move forward with the expansion only after receiving all required environmental clearances and making a finding of no significant impact for the proposal, if appropriate.

Questions or comments regarding the draft environmental assessment should be directed to Kate Wells, by phone at 503-808-4664, by email at kathleen.a.wells@usace.army.mil, or by regular mail at the address below. Mailed comments must be postmarked by Nov. 24 and sent to:

District Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
Attn: CENWP-PM-E/Kate Wells
P.O. Box 2946, Portland, Oregon 97208-2946

The draft document for the proposal is available for public review and comment at the associated public notice page on the Portland District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, located at www.nwp.usace.army.mil/notice/article/135756.

Public review helps the Corps consider the concerns of citizens and organizations by involving them in the environmental review process. The Corps understands that citizens often have valuable information about the places and resources they value. This draft document provides the public with the means to be involved in the decision-making process by helping them to understand what we’re proposing and to offer their comments on our analysis of the effects of such actions.

Navigation is the Corps’ oldest mission, dating back to 1871, authorizing it to maintain the nation’s waterways for navigation and commerce. The Portland District is responsible for half of the Corps’ oceangoing dredge fleet, helping to keep waterways open along the West Coast and as far as Hawaii and Alaska.

dredging navigation News release oregon coast port orford