Dredge in place and set to go

Port of Siuslaw readies The Laura and Ms. SoCo for action

Jan. 11, 2019 — The Port of Siuslaw has been losing visits by mariners for both short stays and for long term rentals for the past few years — due in part to the inability to safely navigate vessels from the Pacific Ocean to the docks on the Siuslaw River.

The tide to and from the ocean has left hundreds of tons of mud, silt, and debris on the bottom of the Siuslaw River over the years, which impedes many mid-size and larger vessels. These layers of debris have continued to pile up since the last time the port was dredged nearly a decade ago.

That situation should soon improve dramatically as the final preparations have been made to start to dredge the port’s waterways. Last week, the major piece of equipment needed to improve navigation in the channel, the dredge called The Laura, and its support tug Ms. SoCo, arrived from Coos Bay.

A crew from the Charleston Marina Complex has been prepping the area to be dredged and laying the pipes needed to remove the debris from the marina. This is a more difficult procedure than might be expected due to the shifting tides and the accumulation of years of river and ocean debris being deposited on the river bottom near the port.

The completion of this aspect of the process is dependent on the timing and level of the tides in the estuary. It can also be delayed by weather, both of which have played a part in the minor delays in starting to actually “move mud,” as the workers said.

This week, crews from the International Port of Coos Bay have been placing the refuse pipes from locations in the marina to the area that will serve as a way station for the waste drawn from the river.

Siuslaw Port Manager Dave Huntington says the process of prepping the port waters is progressing well and the actual removal of debris will begin soon.

“Right now, they are laying the pipes from the area where they will be dredging, to the back part of the port where we will be pumping the mud and dirt,” he said. “They brought a small crew from Coos Bay and with this weather it’s taken a little longer that we thought to get everything ready to dredge. Yesterday we moved the dredge to the dock by Novelli’s and the pipes should be in place by the end of the day, which means we are really close to starting to remove the mud from the area.”

People can expect to see the dredge in action on Monday, circumstances permitting.

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