Early in the industrialization of the lower Columbia River, dredging and channel training structures were employed to manage river depths. The Columbia River is a challenging environment, from its mouth, labeled as the 'Graveyard of the Pacific', to its high sediment yields. 

The Port of Longview plays two major roles in maintaining shipping in the lower Columbia River and to the Port of Longview berths: 

Port Maintenance Activities

Occurring most years, the Port schedules and contracts for berth dredging. Dredging requires regular permit updates, monitoring, contracting, funding and engineering in order to provide safe, deep berths for our customers and tenants to use for import and export activities. The Port also maintains Willow Grove Park and Boat Launch where maintenance dredging occurs as needed. 

Dredge Material

The Port disposes dredged material back into the river, also known as in flow placement, in areas identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These are typically outside of the Federal Navigation Channel and in water not shallower than 20 feet or deeper than 65 feet. Dredge materials placed in flow land disposal eventually move back into the system which helps ensure the system doesn't become sediment starved.

Other placement methods are considered beneficial use sites. These sites consistent of shallow water placement, beach nourishment (shoreline placement) and upland placement. 

  • Shallow water placement provides opportunities to help achieve habitat enhancement in waters less than 20 feet in depth. Dredged material can be strategically placed to emulate natural sediment transport dynamics in large riverine and estuarine environments. Shallow water placement can be completed to specific depths and elevations to support aquaculture, subtidal species such as clams, wetlands, intertidal communities and upland waterfowl/wildlife. 
  • Beach nourishment is dredged material placed above and below the shoreline to create or expand the beach area. This allows the material to provide recreational opportunities or secure eroding shorelines. Additionally, a shifting mosaic of beach nourishment and upland placement can mimic the historical unregulated river flood flow-driven sand bar habitat used by ESA-listed streaked horned larks.
  • Upland placement allows for material to be taken from the river and placed upland. Site owners, through agreements with the state of Washington, may allow others to remove dredged material from upland sites, which renews placement site capacity and generates royalties for the state. This material can be used by sand and gravel contractors and as development fill. Additionally, upland placement can be utilized to create wildlife habitat, such as nesting areas for the endangered species, the streaked horned lark.

Lower Columbia River Channel Maintenance PlanLCRCMP Opens in new window

In addition to our local activities, the Port is one of five non-federal sponsors of the Columbia River Federal Navigation Channel. The Ports of Longview, Woodland, Kalama, Vancouver and Portland, OR, work in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, to ensure the Columbia River shipping channel is maintained for commercial shipping. This partnership drives the economic health of our region, strengthens our community and keeps the Columbia River navigation channel safe and efficient for deep draft vessels.