Kenmore Navigation Channel receives funds for dredging

The city of Kenmore is receiving funds that will enable them to conduct maintenance dredging of the city
The city of Kenmore is receiving funds that will enable them to conduct maintenance dredging of the city's navigation channel.
— image credit: Sarah Kehoe, Bothell/Kenmore Reporter

The city of Kenmore is receiving $440,000 from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to conduct maintenance dredging of the city's navigation channel.

A significant amount of local commerce and business depend on the navigation channel to move goods and supplies by barge. Without regular maintenance to the channel, transportation networks relying on the channel are disrupted and the transportation costs go up, according to Nancy Ousley, assistant city manager for Kenmore.

"This work that has been included in the core work plan for fiscal year 2014 will allow them to do the environmental assessment and further analysis that is a required step before the maintenance dredging could proceed," Ousley said.

The $440,000 included in the budget will help leverage the $100,000 the city has already invested through local resources to move forward on the project.

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene has consistently called on the Obama Administration to provide funding for this project.

“Small harbors and channels such as Kenmore’s are an important part of our diverse and vibrant local economy," DelBene said. “I’m pleased that the Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers has included funding to help maintain the Kenmore Navigation Channel so it can continue to be a critical piece of infrastructure that supports local jobs and commerce.”

The Kenmore Navigation Channel is a critical conduit for commerce and the regional economy and is in need of maintenance dredging, as barging operations serving CalPortland’s concrete plant, Kenmore Air’s commercial seaplane operations, and other water-dependent businesses are being affected by the diminished lake depth. The most recent maintenance dredging by the Corps of Engineers was in 1997. Maintenance dredging is at least six years overdue, Ousley said.

"We want to see the full dredging take place, but this is a first step needed to happen in order to make it happen to have the dredging go forward," Ousley said.

The city of Kenmore has been working for several years to bring attention to the need for maintenance dredging of the navigation channel. U.S. Senator Patty Murray, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene urged the Administration and US Army Corps of Engineers to support this proposal.

The budget legislation for FY 2014 included $40 million in the Corps budget to be directed to small harbors and ports, which typically have difficulty competing with large port facilities for maintenance funding, but are often instrumental for local economies and public safety.

"We are very pleased with this news," said David Baker, Kenmore mayor. "Congresswoman Suzan DelBene has championed this proposal from the start, and Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. Maria Cantwell have worked effectively to make small harbors that are so vital for local economies are funded in the corps budget. King County officials, particularly council member Rod Dembowski also made the case for this project."


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