KINGSTON — Boaters, prepare for some interruption this summer: the Port of Kingston’s maintenance dredge of Appletree Cove will begin in July.
The boat launch and marine traffic will be affected by “periodic” closures during the two-week dredge.
The port declared a state of emergency and began applying for permits in September, when it became clear the cove was becoming shallower because of silt buildup.
During low tide, A, B and C docks and the boat launch are not always accessible. Several boats have grounded since summer.
Silt has been steadily building up since the marina was originally dredged in 1967, and became worse when the Kingston Road bridge was completed last spring, opening up the Carpenter Creek estuary to its natural flow into the cove. The effect of the opened estuary into Appletree Cove pressured the need for a dredge but did not cause it, Port Manager Kori Henry said.
The port was racing to have its environmental testing and permit applications approved by January, so it could complete the dredge before the fish spawning window closed Feb. 28. However, Henry said the port’s soil analysis plan was not yet accepted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as of Jan. 17.
“We knew the time was tight,” Henry said.
The soil analysis is the last step before obtaining a Kitsap County shoreline exemption permit, which then leads to the Department of Fish and Wildlife hydraulic permit, then the Corps of Engineers permit, known as a “Nationwide 10 permit.”
After all the permits are obtained, the port can open the project up for bid. The next fish window opens July 15.
The soil samples will be studied for contamination. Henry said she expects the soil will be clean, because there has never been an industrial site along the cove, and the port incorporated in 1919.
If the soil is contaminated, however, that could double the cost of the dredge, currently estimated at $698,000. Henry said if clean, the sedimentation dredged would be disposed of at an open water disposal spot near Everett. If the soil is too polluted, it will be disposed of upland, a much more expensive process.
Henry said because she has more time now, she will look for and apply for grant funding to help pay for the dredge. This will also give the Corps of Engineers more time to decide if it will contribute to dredging the federal navigation channel just outside the breakwater; the Corps previously said it could not afford that portion of the dredge.
Henry said the port will continue to measure the tide and put up warning signs, cautioning of shallow areas during low tide.