Senator Murray Secures Over $2 Million for Ports of Chinook and Ilwaco

Jun 14 2005

Funding will boost economic development in Southwest Washington

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today announced that she has secured $4.65 million to fund economic development and environmental projects in Southwest Washington. She secured the funding – which includes $2.15 million to fund dredging-related projects at the channels of the Ports of Chinook and Ilwaco, and $2.5 million for the Benson Beach project – as a member of the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee.

"We must provide the necessary funding for shallow-water ports in our rural communities," Murray said. "These ports are an important economic engine for rural communities, and I am proud to be able to support them. I will continue to use my position on the Energy and Water subcommittee to make sure that all of our ports have the resources they need to flourish."

The Ports of Chinook and Ilwaco are located near the mouth of the Columbia River. Due to the build up of silt in the bay, fishermen can only access the bay and its fish and crab processing plant during extremely high tides. By dredging the area in question, fishermen will have safe, reliable access to the channel and the processing plants.

Murray, who secured $500,000 in the 2004 Senate Energy and Water Bill to support dredging at the ports, added over $2 million in this year's bill -- $1 million to dredge the Port of Chinook channel and $1 million to dredge the Port of Ilwaco channel. She also added $150,000 to study increased siltation in Baker Bay that necessitates the dredging.

"Improving the Columbia River will mean more jobs and economic development for Southwest Washington – and our entire region," Murray said. "I will continue to support the growth of local economies in Southwest Washington."

Benson Beach Project

Additionally, Murray secured $2.5 million for the study of littoral drift north of the mouth of the Columbia River. This study, often referred to as the Benson Beach project, would examine how best to use dredged material to restore the natural flow of sediment to Southwest Washington's shores, thereby minimizing the environmental impact of the dredging projects.