Senator’s Intervention Gets Columbia River Port Dredged

The Daily Astorian reported December 16 that the intervention of Sen. Jeff Merkley (DOregon) has resulted in the Port of Astoria on the Columbia River getting a expedited permit
for maintenance dredging in the short time window available.

The Port of Astoria has antiquated finger docks that stick out into the river instead of a large dock space running along the bank. The docks are sediment traps resulting in dredging costs that average about $800000 a year.

When the government shutdown in October stalled an emergency dredge permit the port had filed its staff reached out to Sen. Jeff Merkley who contacted federal agencies pleading the port’s case.

“Given the extensive economic damage that could have occurred if the short dredging window was missed” wrote Courtney Warner-Cromwell a spokeswoman for Merkley’s office
“Sen. Merkley’s staff that was not furloughed at the time reached out to nonfurloughed NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) officials to let them know about the
situation and see if they could quickly move forward in making a decision about the dredging permits.”

Warner-Cromwell had said in a letter “… the economic damage to the Port could have been up to $5 (to) $6 million per vessel that fails to dock at the Port of Astoria amounting to approximately $10 (to) $12 million of direct economic impact per month.”

By December 6 Merkley was told that the port had all but the required Corps of Engineers permits so his office again made calls. The port received its dredging permit December 9 allowing it to dredge down to 43 feet by the end of February.

“We get anywhere from six to eight feet of sediment shoaling per year in between our slips” the port’s interim Chief Executive Officer Mike Weston said. “If we don’t dredge we’d be shut down. We were about two or three feet away from being shut down.”

“It’s about a tenth of our budget” Weston said about the dredging adding that this is a light dredging year.

“We usually dredge around 200000 cubic yards a year but this year we’re doing the 89000 (for the emergency permit).”

Scarborough River Dredging Will Proceed

Dredging of Maine’s Scarborough River will proceed beginning January 6 now that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has decided it will not try to prevent it despite some concerns about impacts to wildlife because the municipal Ferry Beach lacked proper regulations especially leash laws for pets to protect endangered species including piping plovers.

The Scarborough River empties into Saco Bay just south of Elizabethport.

The $1.6 million project’s start date was announced December 13 by the New England Engineer District which awarded the job contract to North American Landscaping Construction and Dredge Company of Ellicott City Maryland on December 2.

In a press release dredging project manager Michael Walsh said about 114300 cubic yards of sediment will be taken from the river channel between its mouth at Saco Bay and the Pine Point pier.

Channel depths will be restored to between six and eight feet in a job scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2014. The work was originally supposed to begin in October but North American Landscaping’s bid was appealed delaying the contract.

Dredged material will be used to replenish Western and Ferry beaches on Prout’s Neck.  Orion Gets Early Corpus Dredging Contract

The Galveston Engineer District announced in early December that it had awarded a contract for $8054750 to Orion Marine Inc. to perform maintenance dredging in the Corpus Christi Ship Channel specifically from the inner basin (lower bay) to Beacon 82 (upper bay) and the La Quinta Junction and channel in Nueces County Texas.

Work was scheduled to begin in December with an estimated completion date of May 2014. Orion must remove about two million cubic yards of shoaling for the transit of deep-draft vessels. The dredged material will be placed in various open water and upland placement areas adjacent to the channel.

“This maintenance dredging contract schedule was accelerated by approximately two months in order to remove critical shoaling within the upper bay reach of the ship channel and at the La Quinta Junction” Galveston District operations manager Paula Rankin Wise said.

“The removal of the La Quinta Junction shoaling is restricting the Big Foot deepwater oil platform from transiting through the La Quinta Channel to its offshore location. The accelerated schedule will ensure (that) the mobilization of the Big Foot platform is not delayed” said Wise.

According to Wise Aransas-Corpus Christi pilot-imposed vessel draft restrictions at the upper bay reach are affecting the Port of Corpus Christi and its customers along with increased traffic and congestion caused by the Eagle Ford Shale production.

Dutra Wins Thimble Shoal Contract

Dutra Dredging Company of California was awarded a $19869500 firm-fixed-price contract for dredging in the Thimble Shoal Federal Navigation Channel and the Cape Henry Federal Navigation Channel Norfolk Virginia. The Norfolk Engineer District is the contracting entity.

Galveston District Awards GIWW Dredging Contract

The Galveston Engineer District announced December 4 that it has awarded a $5180000 contract to RLB Contracting Inc. for maintenance dredging in the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Corpus Christi Bay to Port Isabel Texas.

The contractor will remove about one million cubic yards from the channel reaches to provide sufficient channel depth for the transit of shallow-draft vessels. The dredged material will be placed in placement areas along the GIWW.

Work was scheduled to begin in December with an estimated completion date of April 2014.

Cheboygan Marina Dredging Suspended

The Cheboygan County Marina suspended dredging operations in early December because of ice possibly until spring. Cheboygan County Administrator Jeff Lawson told the Board of Commissioners on December 10 that low temperatures and snow might prevent the contractor Kokosing Construction Company from resuming work local media reported. Kokosing had submitted the low bid of $485100 beating out a Ryba Marine bid of $748330.

Earlier last year the Michigan legislature appropriated emergency dredging funds through the Harbors and Docks emergency grant program for lakeside communities to combat low water levels in harbors across the state and to mitigate the economic impact to recreational boating in Michigan.

The county is eligible for up to $612500 for reimbursement of project-related costs through the grant meaning Cheboygan’s grant will cover 100 percent of the engineering and contract cost for the dredging. The eligible project covers only dredging in the marina’s harbor not in the river channel beyond.

Lawson said project specifications called for completion of dredging by the end of December but the grant funds do not expire until April 21. The project is about 62 percent completed Lawson said.

While the state wanted dredging completed by year’s end because of time required for project design and permit approval and other dredging projects that also received grant funding the work got a late start. Lawson said he believes the county will receive an extension.

Contract To Dredge Tangier Island Channel Let

The Norfolk Engineer District announced December 16 that it has awarded a $991500 contract to 4H Construction Corporation based in Cleveland Mississippi to dredge the Tangier Island Virginia federal navigation channel.

The channel is the main connection from the island to the mainland and is maintained to a depth of eight feet mean lower low water in the east channel and seven feet mean lower low water in the turning basin and west channel.

“It’s our lifeline it’s very important to us” James Eskridge Tangier town mayor said “It’s how the supplies come into the island and how the guys get out working on the water and making their living.”

The contractor will perform maintenance dredging in the channel removing about 55500 cubic yards of material which will allow watermen supply vessels and ferries safe access to and from the island.

Norfolk District officials and representatives of 4H Construction will meet to hammer out the plans before the first dredge arrives at the island.

Jason Flowers Norfolk District project manager said the project could start this winter. “It is a vital waterway to the people in this community and we are committed to ensuring that this project is successful throughout the construction process” he said.

The Tangier navigation channel was first authorized by The River and Harbor Act of March 2 1919. The act was later amended by several acts one of which authorized a channel from the basin through Tangier Creek westward to the Chesapeake Bay.

Funding for the contract was provided by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

Florida Beach Renourishment Begins

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock began mobilizing to execute its renourishment contract for the beach at Anna Maria Island Florida on December 21.

The beach had eroded by Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Debby.

GLDD will pump 1.2 million cubic yards of sand onto the eroded shore. The renourishment will cover five miles of federal beach property starting on the island’s north end.

GLDD’s dredge is located off the south shore. The project’s roughly $16 million cost is divided among the federal government Manatee County and the state of Florida.

Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources (PNR) said the dredging will take 60 days to complete.

“We lose about ten to fifteen feet of beach a year and so over about a 10 to 12 year period we need to come back and place it back. We call it sacrificial sand because we would rather lose sand than property” a Manatee County PNR official told local media.