Winchester Bay Dredging

A ship scoops silt out of Winchester Bay's Salmon harbor as part of a dredging project to open up the channels for boats and ships.

WINCHESTER BAY -- Dredging has been taking place in Salmon Harbor over the last week, opening up more room for vessels to navigate the bay and get into the Umpqua River.

The dredging is focused in areas of Salmon Harbor. According to Paul Staffard, harbor manager of Salmon Harbor, they are working to clear the navigable channels on the east and west basins; dredging will also be done around Breakwater, the commercial dock, and at the end of A Dock, the transient boats dock.

The company doing the dredging is J.E. McAmis, from Longview, Wash. Staffard said they are using an approximately 20 yard scoop to clear out silt, sand, and other debris built up by the tide and current of the Umpqua River. At the end of the project, boats and larger vessels will have an easier time travelling around the area; Staffard noted vessels that sit lower in the water have had problems moving through the channel during low tide and that it had been awhile since the area was dredged.

"It hadn't been done in years, so there were issues getting in during low tide," he said. "This should be good for commercial and public boats ... more water to move around in."

The dredging is expected to be completed by Saturday, Aug 10.

In November 2018, Congressman Peter DeFazio announced that the U.S. Army Core of Engineers would allocate $34.5 million to maintenance and safety projects at ports and channels along the Oregon coast. This included $954,000 in funds specifically to be used for dredging in Winchester Bay.

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Reporter Adam Robertson can be reached at 541-297-3590, or by email at adam.robertson@theworldlink.com.