Kingston marina dredge project begins

The sediment dredge project that was put on hold and delayed for years will begin Aug. 18. and result in a week of closures.

KINGSTON — The sediment dredge project that was put on hold and delayed for years will begin Aug. 18.

The Port of Kingston will close its marina to all vessels during select hours Aug. 18-22.

The closure will allow divers to swim safely in the water as work on the marina dredging project begins. The first step is transplanting eelgrass from the sediment near the marina, to an eelgrass nursery immediately outside of the breakwater. The nursery will be between the Washington State Ferry dock and the entrance to the marina, on the south side of the breakwater.

The purpose of the dredge is to alleviate the risk of vessels grounding, and eliminating tide-dependent access to the marina, according to Eelgrass Mitigation and Monitoring Plan.

Since the marina was built in the 1960s, sediment has filled the entrance channel and fairway, according to the plan. The buildup of sediment has restricted the width of the channel vessels use to enter and exit the marina and has caused “several vessels” to be temporarily grounded, according to Port Manager David Malone.

Nearly 1,800 eelgrass shoots will be harvested by divers from the dredging area. Divers will transfer the shoots to a boat, where biologists will separate and count them, according to the plan. The shoots will be trimmed and processed into planting units.

The units will be transported to the nursery site into 15-20 plots.

The eelgrass is a critical element of the Puget Sound Chinook salmon. Mitigation and monitoring is being done to comply with the Endangered Species Act.

The end goal of the dredge will be improved access to the entrance channel, docks A, B, C, and the boat ramp.

The dredge project was originally estimated to cost as much as $698,298.

Project could have multiple phases

Following the eelgrass transplant the actual dredging of sediment is planned to happen in October and November of 2014, according to Malone.

The port will request proposals for the dredge work in the next several weeks, according to Malone.

The dredge is expected to take between two weeks and a month to complete. The first phase is not expected to take longer than two months.

About 17,000-cubic yards of sediment will be removed from the area. The sediment will be transported to waters north of Mukilteo and Everett, and south of Gedney Island.

The port will monitor the channel for several years to determine if an additional dredge is needed.

If another dredge is needed, a second dredge will be performed about five years after the first. A second dredge is expected to be similar to the first.

Once the sediment problem is resolved, the eelgrass will be immediately transplanted back to its original location, according to the plan.

The dredge work will include multiple barges and an excavator or crawler crane to remove the sediment.

Dredge was a long time coming

The port applied to dredge in 2002, which was denied, the North Kitsap Herald reported in 2012.

The marina was originally dredged in 1967, and again in 1993 for the boat launch.

The port began applying for permits in September 2012. The port was planning for the dredge since the opening of Carpenter Creek estuary in January 2012. The port originally expected the project to begin before the Feb. 28 cutoff in 2013. It was expected to being in August or September of 2013. It delayed until July 2013.

The project was then halted when it was discovered that the port improperly identified where the dredge would take place. The main concern was over the eelgrass, which will be transplanted. The project was delayed until at least July 2014.

Closure times for the marina are: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 18; and 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 19-22.

The port expects traffic will be allowed Aug. 19-22 between noon and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. the following mornings.