Construction has begun at the entrance of Brown’s Slough. The City of Bethel’s Port and Public Works Departments are working together to dig out a deeper channel for boat traffic. It’s called “dry excavation” which includes digging out frozen dirt in the wintertime.
In the summer, the slough is used by villagers coming to Bethel, but it has been notoriously shallow in recent years. At some low tides, there is just a trickle of water in the middle of the slough.
Port Director, Pete Williams, says they started the project this week by boring holes through the ice. Their equipment hit frozen dirt just a few feet down. He says although they would like to dredge the whole slough, they are only able to focus on a channel because they can’t excavate near the sea wall.
The project could last about a month. Orange fencing and other markers are being put up to keep snow machines and other traffic away from the work area.
The city had to get permits from several agencies for the project, including from the Army Corps of Engineers.