Keystone dredging wraps up in December

Dredging is expected to last for nine weeks.

A massive sediment-scooping project at the Coupeville ferry terminal that began last month is on schedule to be completed by the third week of December.

Every three to five years, Keystone Harbor is dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The engineer formation built the artificial harbor in 1947 and 1948 and has been maintaining it ever since.

The dredging is necessary to clear the path for the ferries to enter the harbor.

Dredging began Oct. 12 and will last for nine weeks.

Accumulated sediment is scooped from the harbor much like a toy is scooped from an arcade claw machine, explained Public Affairs Specialist Dallas Edwards.

A clam-shell dredge is used to transport the 50,000 cubic yards of materials to a site further up the beach.

According to an Army Corps of Engineers fact sheet, the dredge material is determined to be suitable for beneficial placement to nourish an eroded section of the beach near the breakwater.

Work is being done between 9:10 p.m. and 6:45 a.m. in order to avoid interruptions to the Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry route.

A press release stated that a temporary gate was installed. During the dredging, if a boat needs to be launched, the gate is opened.

The project has been coordinated and approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington State Department of Transportation and Washington State Parks.

No impacts to wetlands, biological resources or water quality are expected.