The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is launching an initiative to address dredging and coastal erosion in the broad region affected by the mouth of the Columbia River. The Corps plans to involve stakeholders who have shown interest in this issue in the past.

The Regional Sediment Management demonstration project will seek to coordinate "dredging activities in the coastal zone for the purposes of retaining sand in the littoral system in order to foster balanced, natural system processes, and reduce project costs," wrote Doris McKillip, the Corps' project manager, in an e-mail.

Beaches adjacent to the river mouth, especially those on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula, have suffered steady erosion. Since 1939, Benson Beach has receded 2,000 feet. Many blame dredging in the river mouth, which removes 3 million to 5 million cubic yards of sand each summer to keep the dangerous bar passable for shipping traffic.

"The need for regional sediment management is based on recognition of the regional implications of dredging and other activities in the littoral zone, as well as the appreciation for sand as a resource," McKillip wrote.

The littoral zone impacted by the mouth of the Columbia River extends from Point Grenville, Wash., to Tillamook Head and to River Mile 7, near Point Adams.

A team led by two Oregon State University professors began contacting stakeholders in the area this week, asking them to discuss their views of sand management. The list of potential stakeholders is derived from meeting sign-in sheets and mailing lists related to the issue. Others who are interested in participating can call McKillip at (503) 808-4348 or send an e-mail to (

The team plans to employ a "collaborative learning" technique for stakeholder involvement, according to McKillip.

The approach "has been applied in a variety of natural resource management situations over the past decade, including forest plan revision and watershed council work," she wrote.

Two one-day training sessions are planned to teach people how the "Collaborative Learning" approach works. One is planned for Oct. 17 in the Portland area and one is planned for Oct. 18 in the Astoria or Ilwaco, Wash.

Once stakeholders are trained, a series of community workshops are planned for late fall and early winter.

A report on Regional Sediment Management is available on the Internet at ( ).


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