Port seeks Ecology grant for waterway remediation projects

Looks at watershed-wide approach to Deschutes Estuary project


The Port of Olympia is seeking a $300,000 grant from the Department of Ecology (Ecology) to support various remediation projects.

The Port Commission authorized Acting Executive Director Rudy Rudolph on Monday, July 24, to execute an application for an integrated planning grant which would not require any matching from the Port.

According to Ecology’s website, integrated planning grants support local governments working to clean and redevelop brownfield sites, which are abandoned industrial properties.

“It allows us to look at ways to take the remediation from being sort of just looked at in a vacuum and look at it in the context if there are opportunities that the remediation can be used to provide further environmental benefit [and] economic benefit,” said environmental consultant James Maul to the Port Commission.

The Port is looking to apply for up to $300,000 as they have multiple eligible projects such as the remediation at the Cascade Pole site and Budd Inlet, and the redevelopment of the East Bay property.

Maul said that the grant would help in the remediation process by supporting the Port to integrate the reuse of sediments from future dredging activities, as well as implementing Vision 2050 and public outreach activities.

The deadline for the grant application is on August 8. Port staff anticipates the results of their application around February next year.

Port Commission tables resolution supporting watershed-wide approach to Deschutes Estuary project

Related to the Budd Inlet remediation project is the Deschutes Estuary restoration project spearheaded by the Department of Enterprise Services (DES). Future dredging activities as part of the Budd Inlet remediation project would help accommodate the incoming flow of sediment from the removal of the 5th Avenue Dam as part of the restoration of the estuary. The remediation project is however independent of the latter project.

The commission was scheduled to consider a resolution supporting a watershed-wide approach to the restoration of Budd Inlet, the Deschutes River, and the Deschutes Estuary. The Port has been working to develop a resolution to support the restoration of the Deschutes Estuary while highlighting the Port’s unique perspective as they will be directly affected by the removal of the 5th Avenue Dam.

During the meeting, however, the commission voted to table the resolution for their August 14 meeting.

Commissioner Joe Downing suggested delaying the resolution until such a time that Port staff can explore options for engineering solutions to reduce dredging costs and minimize the dispersion of sediments.

Downing also wanted Port staff to look into developing language for an interlocal agreement that commits the state to fund and construct a sediment mitigation structure to replace the catchment function of Capitol Lake.

“Our interest as a Port is to safeguard the navigational channels, as well as safeguard the use of recreation which is the recreational marinas on this part of Budd Inlet. So this is, in my opinion, an excellent way to incorporate the Port's voice,” Downing said.


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