The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with local sponsor Port of Bellingham, will begin maintenance dredging of the Squalicum Waterway November 20.
Heavy sedimentation has caused a navigation hazard in Squalicum Waterway which threatens continued use by commercial vessels loading and off-loading cargo without maintenance dredging. The Squalicum Waterway supports more than 2000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in gross annual revenue and is critical maritime infrastructure for the regional economy.
The Corps awarded a contract to Curtin Maritime Corp. of Long Beach, California, for $2.2 million. Approximately 250,000 cubic yards of material will be dredged from the outer channel and disposed of at the Rosario Strait Open Water Disposal Site near Anacortes, Washington.
An additional 4,000 cubic yards of material will be dredged from the inner channel and disposed of at the Port Gardner Open Water Disposal Site near Everett, Washington. Prior to dredging, the material is tested and the Corps prepares a biological evaluation in accordance with the Endangered Species Act.
The duration of the project will be approximately 45 days.
The Corps assures full compliance with the act prior to starting, and potential impacts are avoided through implementing timing restrictions designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Squalicum Waterway was last dredged in 2004.
About the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
One of the Seattle District’s primary missions is to maintain the navigation channels and harbors in the Pacific Northwest. Maintenance and navigation dredging is done frequently in harbor areas, ports and marinas. A significant component of Washington’s economy depends on navigation and commerce, which in turn depends on dredging the state’s waterways, such as the Squalicum Waterway.
About the Port of Bellingham
The Port of Bellingham was established in 1920. Throughout Whatcom County, the Port owns, operates and maintains approximately 1600 acres of property including a shipping terminal, a cruise terminal, two marinas, industrial development areas, commercial uplands, parklands, shoreline public access areas and an international airport.