Kodiak Daily Mirror - Army Corps of Engineers will dredge St Paul Harbor
Army Corps of Engineers will dredge St. Paul Harbor
by James Brooks / editor@kodiakdailymirror.com
Feb 09, 2012 | 144 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
KODIAK — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday that it has allocated $1.74 million to dredge the entrance to St. Paul Harbor.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Kodiak Port and Harbor Advisory Board, harbormaster Marty Owen said work could begin as early as this summer if details are finalized in time.

The biggest obstacle is likely to be the work schedule, which needs to have as little effect on the summer salmon season as possible.

“One of their proposals wanted to close down the harbor for the entire summer, and I said. ‘Oh, no,’” Owen said.

Another proposal to close the harbor for several weeks at a time was also turned down.

The dredging, which has been requested by the city from the federal government for several years, is needed because of the way the harbor bottom has rebounded since the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964. A rocky formation has risen on the bottom of the harbor entrance channel, creating a barrier for larger vessels.

The corps plans to blast in the area, and Owen said the plan calls for removing five to six feet of material in most places, and as much as 10 feet in spots.

“Probably our next big hurdle here is to figure out how they’re going to do it,” he said.

Owen plans to invite corps engineers to come down to Kodiak to explain to harbor users what will happen during the dredging process.

“(The corps) has been working really hard to get this contract together, and I applaud them to do that,” Owen said. “It was really doubtful we’d ever get the money from this administration.”

At least one sticky problem related to the dredging has already been solved by the harbor department: what to do with the dredged material.

As he announced the dredging funding, Owen waved a corps-issued permit that will allow the rock and sand from the harbor bed to be dumped at the far northeastern tip of Dog Bay, adjacent to an existing parking lot. The fill will allow the expansion of the parking lot, Owen said.

Members of the port and harbor advisory board asked whether the material could instead be dumped off the west side of Uski Island, starting a breakwater to protect Pier 3.

Owen said that would be difficult because that area is outside city limits and would require a different permitting process.

“It’s going to be a teaspoonful compared to what we really need there,” he added.

The dredging is expected to go out to bid this spring, with work beginning either this summer or next. More details will become available as the plan progresses.

Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiakdailymirror.com.
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