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Good tidings: Liberty Bay's lowest tide of the year

POULSBO — Tuesday's low tide in Liberty Bay was advantageous for many — birds had a feast for sea life not normally available, and Port of Poulsbo staff members made an annual check of infrastructure.

Tuesday's tide was the lowest of the year, coming in at 8 feet at its highest point. Port Manager Kirk Stickels said normal tide comes in at about 12 feet. Much of the head of the bay is mud and sediment, from Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park to Fish Park.

This year's low is on par with the last few years, but what troubles the port is the amount of sediment filling in near shore. Stickels said he expects to see the sediment washing down from higher points in the city and pulled from the fill under Anderson Parkway, but the amount is growing every year.

As sediment builds, near shore becomes more shallow, threatening the availability of where boats can dock and where port facilities are, such as the office and fueling station. Stickels said the testing and photographing of the port that staff members are doing during low tide will help the port's applications for maintenance construction and dredging. Liberty Bay was last dredged in the late 1970s, and the port is looking into another dredge. Stickels said the engineering and permits, and paying for the dredge — in the hundreds of thousands of dollars — will take some time.

"This is the practical side of preventive maintenance," he said.

No boats have grounded — tides are predicted far in advance — but Stickels said port staff have found some interesting things in the bay in the past. Cell phones are common, and grocery carts have been uncovered in the past.

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