Breakwater bidding to go forward despite permit delays

The Port of Poulsbo will go forward with bidding for breakwater replacement despite agency approval delays.

Recently the Department of Ecology approved the project, but the Port still needs approval from the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which are still in the negotiation process.

The Port is hoping to replace the deteriorating breakwater with a new one, courtesy of Elliot Bay Marina, which will include additional slip spaces, a public restroom, and a new upweller system to keep the marina clean.

Funding for this project is time-sensitive, so the Port is choosing to move ahead with the construction bidding in October, even without full project approval.

“We can’t afford to stop the process to wait for an agency. Our grants are time-sensitive so we’ll continue with our plans to go out to bid during early winter,” Port manager Carol Tripp said.

Tripp said that the Port has seen a lot of help from U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, who has been working to find out why the permitting process with the Corp and NMFS has been delayed for so long.

“What is sad is that so many, many Ports are in the same situation,” Tripp said.

Several years ago, a government mandate required that the Army Corp and NMFS work together to streamline the permitting process, but it seems that it has had the opposite effect, she said.

“The NMFS won’t issue ESA reports (ESA — Endangered Species Act) and the Army Corp then blames NMFS for ‘holding up the show.’ Meanwhile, nothing happens,” Tripp said.