Port of Everett to Dredge Boat Launch, Seeks Emergency Authorization to Address River Sandbar Restricting Access
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – AUGUST 23, 2021
Everett, WA – On August 10, 2021, the Port of Everett Commission authorized Port staff to solicit public works bids to complete necessary maintenance dredging at the Jetty Landing Boat Launch located at 10th Street and West Marine View Drive in Everett.
The work is expected to take place early winter thru early-2022 to remove up to 41,000 cubic yards (CY) – equivalent to about 4,000 dump trucks loads – of river sediment that has settled in the launch basin and is greatly impacting facility use at low tide.
This action follows the Port’s coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) seeking emergency authorization to expand its dredging authorization beyond the launch footprint to mitigate a growing sandbar that has formed in the river limiting access between the high-use public facility and the Snohomish River Navigation Channel to the west.
If granted, the Port could dredge an additional 8,000 CY to create a connector channel through the sandbar.
“We have reached a point where dredging the launch and establishing reliable access to and from the navigation channel is imperative to keeping this public facility operating as intended,” Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber said. “Thousands of boaters depend on the launch and surrounding waterways to be accessible at all tide levels, including our local emergency responders who provide critical on-the-water life safety services. Having a response vessel unable to reach the river channel during a rescue mission could quickly become a life or death situation and we cannot have that.”
The facility, jointly owned by the Port of Everett, City of Everett and Snohomish County, represents Washington state’s largest boat launch with 13-lanes and accommodates more than 30,000 launches per year. Many rely on the launch to access the Snohomish River, Port Gardner Bay and beyond, ranging from recreational and commercial boaters to Department of Defense operations, emergency responders and our tribal partners who use the facility to access their usual and accustomed fishing rights areas.
Given its unique location on an active river channel, the launch must be dredged periodically to maintain navigable depths. This need has increased exponentially in recent years as extreme weather events and historical shifts in Snohomish River flow have caused major increases in siltation at and around the launch.
The sandbar that has formed just outside of the launch is not an area owned or maintained by the Port or the Corps, and as it has grown, it is creating havoc for boaters who often times launch with no issue, but then get stuck.
“To ensure the Port’s dredging investment provides value and the launch doesn’t fill right back up, we must prioritize a resolution for the increasing river siltation challenges at and around the launch,” Lefeber said. “Receiving an emergency authorization to dredge through the sandbar would provide a temporary fix to bridge the gap while we finalize next steps with our partners.”
The Port continues to work with launch co-owners and river partners toward development of a long-term solution for the shifts in river flow and increasing siltation. The Corps recently completed a river flow analysis, which with help to inform the plan.
For the time being, the Port asks that boaters continue to launch with care by checking tides for anticipated departure and return times and understanding vessel draft.
For additional information, contact Catherine Soper, Communications Director, at 425-388-0680 or by e-mail at email@example.com.