Funding for maintenance dredging included in FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act
(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber applauds yesterday’s announcement that Oregon coastal ports will receive sorely needed dredging funds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Most of Oregon’s coastal ports received no funds for dredging in the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget. The U.S. Congress included two competitive funding programs for shallow and deep port dredging in its 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which became law on January 17, 2014. These programs were $40 million and $128 million respectively, and ports across the country were eligible.
Governor Kitzhaber wrote USACE Assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy
on February 2, 2104, outlining why Oregon’s ports deserved funding. The award means nine ports in Oregon that would have gone without any dredging this summer will get needed navigation maintenance.
“The federal dredging funds announced yesterday are critical to Oregon’s coastal economy,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “This award is about jobs and a strong coastal economy, but it’s also about safety.”
Maintenance dredging of coastal ports has long been a responsibility of the federal government and is essential for the safety of commercial and recreational users. However, for the past several years, funds to dredge Oregon’s coastal ports have been severely underfunded or completely nonexistent.
Last year, in response to almost no federal funds for maintenance dredging, the Governor worked with Oregon’s legislative Coastal Caucus to secure $5 million in state funds to pay the USACE to dredge some of Oregon’s most severely shoaled coastal ports.
“When it comes to funding for this important dredging work, Oregon shouldn’t have to do it alone,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “I’m pleased that we successfully competed at the federal level to secure funds for coastal ports this year. This is a huge win for the economic well-being of coastal communities, commercial and recreational boating and fishing, and small business owners.”
The Governor commended the strong advocacy by Oregon’s federal delegation. “I appreciate the efforts of our federal delegation to secure these funds and explore both short- and long-term solutions that keep our coastal communities strong and boaters safe,” said Governor Kitzhaber.
The Governor has been working with Oregon’s Congressional delegation to ensure federal maintenance dredging funds are available in 2014 and beyond – both through federal appropriations and from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which is the traditional source of federal funds for dredging and harbor maintenance. This fund is paid for by the Harbor Maintenance Tax.
The nine ports that received funds for dredging:
$717,000 Chetco River, OR
$413,000 Coquille, OR
$380,000 Depoe Bay, OR
$1,262,000 Port Orford, OR
$638,000 Rogue River at Gold Beach, OR
$730,000 Siuslaw River, OR
$1,227,000 Skipanon Channel, OR
$659,000 Tillamook Bay & Bar, OR
$861,000 Umpqua River, OR
Rachel Wray, 503-559-1277