Coho concerns stall dredging permit

April 04, 2001 11:00 pm
Sludge from past dredging operations are removed from a dumping ground at the harbor. Additional harbor dredging is heading toward final approval, once concerns over the impact on coho salmon are addressed. (The Daily Triplicate /Stephen Merrill Corley).
Sludge from past dredging operations are removed from a dumping ground at the harbor. Additional harbor dredging is heading toward final approval, once concerns over the impact on coho salmon are addressed. (The Daily Triplicate /Stephen Merrill Corley).

By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

The final dredging permit for Crescent Citys harbor is being held up by the National Marine Fisheries Service, according to the harbors dredging contractor.

A report from Richard Parsons, of RWP Dredging Management, was presented to harbor commissioners Tuesday night during their regularly scheduled meeting.

The report said the final permit will be held by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until NMFS can study any impact the dredging may have on endangered coho salmon.

Theyre worried about juvenile salmon being sucked into the dredge, Parsons said yesterday. Historically, coho did use Elk Creek so they want to study the impact on existing coho habitat as well.

A permit from the Corps, the last obstacle before dredging can begin, will be held until NMFS gives the project a green light, according to the report.

I am in conversation with NMFS personnel in Arcata in an effort to resolve what I believe is the final hurdle in the Corps regulatory process, Parsons said in the report.

Parsons said he is hopeful the final steps can be accomplished quickly and work will begin this month.

The dredging project is needed to keep the basin and channel clear of sediment and debris buildup so boats have safe access to the harbor.

One of the harbors designated dredge-deposit areas, next to Whaler Island, is also waiting for approval.

Currently, Morgan Ready Mix has been hired to move out old dredge materials to the Del Norte County landfill.

Theyre contracted to move 10,000 cubic yards out to the landfill where its being stockpiled, said Harbormaster, Rich Taylor.

We are splitting the cost with the Solid Waste Management Authority because they need it to cover up the landfill and we need to get rid of the stuff, he said.