News Releases

Signing of Project Partnership Agreement will allow for channel deepening to begin this year

(SEATTLE, WA) — Yesterday, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Port of Grays Harbor to celebrate the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement, which allows the Army Corps to move forward with plans to deepen the Grays Harbor Federal Navigation Channel this year. In August 2014, an Army Corps study recommended the channel be deepened by two feet, from 36 to 38 feet, the federally authorized depth, which will support continued growth, economic development, and job creation at the Port of Grays Harbor. Sen. Murray worked with the Army Corps and Port of Grays Harbor to secure funding to support the channel deepening project. 

“Ports are critical to our economy and to our communities, and there is no better example than the Port of Grays Harbor.  The port supports many jobs in the region, and with its strategic location on the Pacific Ocean, it’s one of the fastest growing export ports on the West Coast,” said Senator Murray. “I am so glad to see this project pass the final stages of approval with the great teamwork and support of local, state, and federal stakeholders. This channel deepening project will help propel Grays Harbor forward as a competitive trade gateway in the Pacific Northwest.”

History of the project:

 Congress authorized the Grays Harbor Federal Navigation Channel deepening in 1986, but plans were modified after a 1989 study found that only to 36 feet depth was economically justified at that time. This initial channel improvement was completed in 1991. In 2007, the Port of Grays Harbor and Army Corps began a new study to reach the fully authorized depth of 38 feet.  The Port has five deep water terminals, and deepening the channel will allow larger vessels to call on the port. Exports account for about 90 percent of Grays Harbor’s shipping activity. 

Construction for the deepening of the Grays Harbor Federal Navigation Channel to its fully authorized depth will get underway this year with the help of $8 million in federal funding included in the Army Corps’ Fiscal Year 2015 Work Plan. The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request, which is currently making its way through Congress, provides an additional $7 million to complete the project. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Appropriations bill which fully funds the $7 million.