Murray Secures Millions for Navigation on the Columbia River

Jun 14 2005

Federal funding to repair jetties and support channel deepening means safety, economic improvements for Southwest Washington

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced that she has secured a total of $32 million to help improve navigation and economic growth on the Columbia River. Murray secured $15 million for the Columbia River Channel Improvement Project and an increase of $17 million for repair of jetties at the mouth of the Columbia River.

The federal funds for the Channel Improvement Project will be used for channel deepening construction and ecosystem restoration, for which Murray has secured $10 million for over the past five years.

“The deepening of the Columbia River means jobs and competitiveness for our entire region. I am pleased to have provided this funding to support our economy in Southwest Washington,” said Senator Murray.

Murray also added $17 million to the Senate budget to repair jetties at the mouth of the Columbia River.

“While the Administration’s budget has $15 million for Channel Deepening it provided no funding at all for jetty repair work at the mouth. The value of those additional three feet will be meaningless if the mouth is closed due to a breach in the jetties,” Murray said.

The increase in funding for the jetties is of particular significance because of the risk of eminent failure in two locations of the south jetty. The Army Corps of Engineers estimates that there is a 20 percent chance of failure this year that will double each year that the issue is not addressed. The failure of the jetties could quickly close down the mouth of the river to safe navigation.

At a hearing of the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee in April, Senator Murray raised the question of funding for the jetty repair with the Lieutenant Carl Strock, Chief of Engineers for the Army Corps of Engineers. In March she introduced a request to add dollars to repair the jetties.

Thanks to Senator Murray’s work, the Senate Energy and Water bill will include $17 million for jetty repair.

The bill now goes before the full Senate Appropriations Committee for approval.