CHINOOK — The Port of Chinook pressed its newly acquired dredge into action Jan. 15, hoping to deepen as much of the marina as possible while the dredging window remains open.
“We’ve been anxiously waiting to see that first mud fly out of that thing,” said Port Manager Ashley Davis.
The port can scour the marina until midnight Feb. 28, probably not enough time to do the entire port, but they plan to do as much as they can.
Port Commissioner Corky Wilson said, “Our main objective is to get the commercial side, and I think we’ll make that.”
The entire marina is in desperate need of dredging, Davis said. The port may seek an extension from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Pacific County to continue dredging into March.
For now, the dredge will be working dawn ‘til dusk, Davis said.
The port’s old dredge sank in a storm in 2012. About half the marina had been dredged at that point. Some areas have since silted up to the point that the marina bottom is visible through the water at low tide.
The port has room for the dredge spoils at its containment pit on site, but it’s filling up fast, Wilson said.
“The spoils will be OK this year, but it won’t be too long before we have to address where it will go,” he said. “ You can’t use it for fill any more, and dump sites have to be purchased. Somewhere down the line we’ll have to look into that.”
The crew carefully checked the dredge before beginning operations, which delayed the start, Davis said.
“We don’t want to have to stop two weeks later” because of something that wasn’t done correctly before dredging started, she said.
The port bought the used dredge from the Port of Ilwaco for $35,000. It cost another $30,000 in repairs to get it running again, Davis said.
It needed a new pump and a specially made suction hose. The dredge came with 1,800 feet of pipe.
Guy Glenn Jr., Ilwaco port manager, said the dredge is about 40 years old, but it has had several rebuilds in that time. It could pump approximately 15,000 to 20,000 cubic yards of dredge spoils in a season, depending on the type of material dredged and mechanical issues such as junk blocking the suction pipe.
Ilwaco purchased a newer dredge in 2013. It can pump about 1,000 cubic yards a day, Glenn said.
Chinook’s old dredge will be dismantled for parts by a private contractor, Wilson said. The engine and some parts still work; the rest will be sold as scrap. The port will get a percentage of the sales.