News Releases

Planning launches for maintaining reliable Columbia River navigation channel

Published Sept. 8, 2017

Environmental scoping opens for 20-year plan

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and five Lower Columbia River ports are beginning the public scoping process to prepare an integrated environmental impact statement and long-term maintenance plan for the Lower Columbia River Federal Navigation Channel. The Plan will ensure the channel, extending upstream from the Mouth of Columbia River to Vancouver, Wash., is maintained and operational at its federally authorized 43-foot depth for another 20 years.

The Washington ports of Longview, Kalama, Woodland, Vancouver and the Port of Portland in Oregon (collectively, the Sponsor Ports) are the non-federal sponsors of the Plan. The Corps and Sponsor Ports, with input from stakeholders, agencies and the public, will determine the best management plan for placing dredged material and evaluate ways to reduce the need for dredging. The planning effort will consider effects of channel maintenance on Lower Columbia River environmental and socioeconomic resources.

The Corps is the lead federal agency under the National Environmental Policy Act for preparing the EIS. The Sponsor Ports are working with the Corps as cooperating agencies under NEPA and are also responsible for actions that require compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act. A Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS under NEPA was published to the Federal Register and a Determination of Significance for SEPA was published in the Washington State Register on
Sept. 8, 2017. 

“The Port of Portland, along with other Columbia River ports, depends on maintenance dredging to support our trade gateway. Maintaining the river channel at its authorized depth and width is essential to sustaining the billions of dollars of commerce that flow through the Columbia River,” states Curtis Robinhold, Port of Portland Executive Director.

Vessels using the full channel depth carried about 11 million tons of export shipments worth nearly $3 billion in 2015.

The scoping process provides an early opportunity to collect information and receive input from interested parties, stakeholders and local and state agencies on issues to consider in development of the Draft EIS. Open house-style public scoping meetings where the Corps and Ports welcome discussion and written input are scheduled in Oregon and Washington.

All meetings run from 4:00-7:00 p.m.

Monday, October 2, 2017
Cowlitz County Event Center, 1900 7th Ave., Longview, WA

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Marshall Community Center, 1009 E McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver, WA

Friday, October 6, 2017
Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 N Foss Ave., Portland, OR

Monday, October 16, 2017
Meriwether Place, 1070 Columbia Blvd., St. Helens, OR

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Dr., Astoria, OR

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Norse Hall, 444 State Rte. 4, Puget Island, Cathlamet, WA

Written input also is welcome during the scoping comment period via U.S. mail, email or by using the online comment tool on the project webpage: The public is encouraged to visit the webpage to learn more about the project, the scoping meetings and how to submit input.

The Portland District’s first mission, eliminating impediments to navigation on the Pacific Northwest's rivers, dates back to 1871. The Corps maintains safe and reliable channels, harbors and waterways for the transportation of commerce, support to national security and recreation.

Jeff Henon
Ashley Helenberg

Release no. 17-035

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