Bethel small boat harbor being dredged

by Mark Arehart on March 15, 2013

As of yesterday, the Small Boat Harbor in Bethel began a month long dredging process to remove built up sediment. The Brown’s Slough entrance to the Kuskokwim River is closed.

The Army Corp of Engineers has contracted with Denali Drilling out of Anchorage to dredge the harbor.

“Dredging is essentially digging in water. So overtime sediment in the river, just like you get sediment in your water, it falls out of the water and slowly fills in. So after the last 15 or 16 years it’s filled in about a foot or two feet,” said Stuart Currie with Denali Drilling.

“So when you go through there with your outboard, I know people last summer, had to kick up their outboards to get to the north ramp and the south ramp, in some cases. And so and that’s the sediment that’s filled in.”

Currie said a large backhoe cuts through the ice and digs out the sediment. Chunks of ice and sediment will then be offloaded onto trucks that will travel to a dumping site north of the harbor.

“(Our) primary concern on the job is safety and so we want to make everyone aware of what’s going on in the area. And some of their traditional routs may have to be changed for their safety.”

In addition to the Brown’s Slough route, a dog and snowmachine trail north of the harbor will be closed.

Currie said the project should last about four weeks. Both the North and South boat ramps are to be replaced as well.

If you have any questions or comments, you can call Stuart Currie at 545-3322.

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