COLUMBIA RIVER - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' dredge Essayons began annual maintenance dredging at the mouth of the Columbia River on July 1.

The corps also announced a public meeting to discuss rehabilitation work at Jetty A at Cape Disappointment, as well as additional work on the North and South jetties.

The corps dredges the navigation channel each year to enhance safety across the Columbia River bar.

The Essayons will be using the Shallow Water Ocean Disposal Site located oceanward of the north jetty near Buoy 7 and the Deep Water Ocean Disposal Site six miles off the mouth of the Columbia River.

"Our dredge captains have always appreciated the cooperation they get from the crab fishing community and their willingness to move crab pots out of the disposal and transit areas." said Doris McKillip, project manager for the Corps. "By knowing when and where the dredges will be operating, recreational boaters and fishermen can minimize the risk to themselves and their equipment."

More jetty workThe corps issued a public notice, CENWP-RM-E-06-3, on May 20 announcing a 30-day comment period for the draft Environmental Assessment. The corps has now extended the comment period until Aug 4. Interested parties are invited to comment on the proposed action.

The purpose of the action is to rehabilitate portions of the North and South jetties and Jetty A at Cape Disappointment, as well as the possibility of constructing jetty spur groins to protect jetty foundations from erosion. The corps says this action is necessary to prevent further deterioration and subsequent breaching of the jetties. Corps officials believe that a breach in one of the jetties would cause accelerated damage to the jetty and could result in increased sediment infill in the navigation channel. The corps recommends major rehabilitation of portions of these jetties.

The corps will host a public informational meeting Monday, July 31, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, 1792 Marine Drive, Astoria.

The South Jetty and North Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River were constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s to secure the federal navigation channel through the ocean entrance to the Columbia River. Jetty A was constructed in the late 1930s to divert the navigational channel away from the North Jetty sand shoal foundation. All of the jetties have experienced reduction in jetty length with loss of jetty heads and damage along the jetties over the years.

A copy of the notice and the Environmental Assessment are available on Portland District's website at (www.nwp.usace.army.mil/issues/jetty).

Questions or comments regarding the Public Notice can be directed to Steve Helm, Environmental Resources Branch, at 503-808-4778 or via e-mail at (steve.r.helm@usace.army.mil) or at the address below. Mailed comments must be postmarked by the above closing date and sent to: District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineer District, Portland, Attn: CENWP-PM-E, P.O. Box 2946, Portland, Ore. 97208-2946. In your response, refer to the above public notice number, title and date.

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