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Bay soil being tested, could affect dredge

Sedimentation buildup urged the port
Sedimentation buildup urged the port's need for a maintenance dredge for Appletree Cove. Staff hopes to dredge in January.
— image credit: Kori Henry / Port of Kingston

KINGSTON — The cost and timing of the Appletree Cove dredge will depend on the health of the bay’s soil.

The Port of Kingston applied for several permits to do a maintenance dredge, ideally in January. Sediment build-up caused problems this summer for boaters, especially at the boat launch, but a dredge has been on the port’s agenda since 2002.

The port is awaiting approval of its soil analysis plan from the Army Corps of Engineers, Port Manager Kori Henry said. The soil will be studied for PBT, dioxins, and other chemicals. Henry expects the soil will be clean because there has never been an industrial site along the cove, and the port incorporated in 1919.

If the soil is contaminated, however, that could double the cost of the dredge, currently estimated at $698,000. The sediment dredged would be disposed of at an open water disposal spot near Everett if clean, but if the soil is too polluted, it will be disposed of upland, a much more expensive process, Henry said.

“Right now, I’m going on the assumption that [the soil is] clean,” Henry said.

If the soil is clean, the port will likely be able to cover the cost from its budget, as applicable grants are not currently available, she said. The timeline could be pushed to July if the soil is contaminated and the port needs grant funding to cover the cost. The “fish window” closes the port’s dredging opportunity in February, when salmon and bull trout migrate and spawn.

The permit process is moving along, Henry said. The port is applying for a maintenance dredge to remove 17,000 cubic yards from the cove. The port applied for a county shoreline exemption permit, a Corps of Engineers individual permit, a Department of Fish and Wildlife hydraulic permit, a Department of Natural Resources open water disposal authorization, and Department of Ecology sedimentation/water quality permit.

The Corps is assisting in the permitting process because part of the dredge will include the federal navigation channel just outside the marina’s breakwater. The Corps does not have the funding to dredge the channel, so the port included the channel in its maintenance dredge.

If the port is given the OK by agencies in the next few weeks, it will open up Requests for Proposals in December. The boat launch and marine traffic will be affected by periodic closures during the dredge.

The cove was last dredged in 1967.

 

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