News Release Manager

Public meeting planned for Dillingham Small Boat Harbor dredging project

Published March 17, 2014

The public is invited to meet with representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District to discuss the annual Dillingham Small Boat Harbor maintenance dredging project.

A presentation and meeting is scheduled from 1-2:30 p.m. March 25 at the City Hall Council Chambers located at 141 Main Street in Dillingham. The Corps will also be available at City Hall from 3-5 p.m. to answer questions.

The Corps plans to continue annual maintenance dredging using a hydraulic pipeline dredge to remove sediment from the harbor and transport it to an in-water disposal site. About 90,000 cubic yards of sediment originating from the Nushagak River would be dredged and disposed of annually between May 15 and July 15. However, the preference is to complete dredging and in-water disposal by June 30 to minimize impacts of harbor use during the subsistence and commercial fishing season.

The positioning of the dredge pipeline may limit the options for boats entering or exiting the harbor at certain tides. The pipeline route will be clearly marked by buoys and aids to navigation, and a local notice to mariners will also be issued prior to each dredge season.

Dredged material from the harbor was formerly placed at upland disposal sites, but the Corps switched to in-water disposal from 2004-2008 after the available upland disposal sites reached capacity. Several public meetings were conducted during this timeframe, in which the community voiced several concerns regarding in-water disposal:

·         Potential impacts to out-migrating salmon smolt

·         Disruption of the upstream migration of adult salmon

·         Fouling of subsistence beaches by dredged sediment

·         Preventing boats from entering the harbor

·         Building a permanent shoal on the river bottom

The Corps took these concerns seriously and developed a monitoring plan or appropriate mitigation measures for each. Summary details are provided in the existing 2007 Environmental Assessment (EA).

A copy of the EA may be obtained from the Alaska District’s Web site at Click on “Reports and Studies” and look under “Reports on Active Projects.” A few hard copies of the EA will also be available at the March 25th meeting.

For more information about the project, please contact Michael Tencza at 907-753-2648 or via email at

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Curt Biberdorf

Release no. 14-004