GRAYS RIVER - On Saturday, Aug. 31, U.S. Rep. Brian Baird examined the site where excavation of a large gravel bar in the Grays River will begin, potentially as early as this week.

Baird brought together permitting agencies and other stakeholders in July to discuss a solution to flooding in the Grays River and urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to accelerate the permitting process so that excavation could begin and conclude before the rainy season.

"Excavation of the gravel bar in Grays River is critical to controlling flooding and protecting the water system," said Baird. "The Upper Grays River Flood Control District showed a lot of creativity by bringing in a bridge to reduce environmental impact of the project. The regulatory agencies came together in a truly cooperative way to move this project forward. I'm grateful for their hard work and collaboration with the local community. It is really exciting to see this project get started."

Excavators will remove a large gravel bar near the Western Wahkiakum Water System that forced the river to cut a path through pasture land and is eroding the nearby bank. A temporary bridge was tentatively scheduled to be placed over the Grays River on Sept. 5, allowing excavators to access to the gravel bar.

Baird was accompanied to the excavation site by Delvin Fredrickson, chair of the Upper Grays River Flood Control District, and Bobby Larson, commissioner of the Upper Grays River Flood Control District.

In July, Baird secured authorization for a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explore solutions to flooding in the Grays River Valley, funded at full federal expense up to $100,000.

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