LONGVIEW — U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, advanced federal funding for two major river infrastructure projects.
Herrera Beutler said Tuesday she secured $856,000 for sediment monitoring on the Lower Cowlitz River and $900,000 for turning basin improvements on the Columbia River. The projects were included in the energy and water spending plan passed by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee.
The sediment monitoring is done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to track volcanic sediment that entered the river systems after Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980. The funding will allow the Corps to continue collecting data about sediment buildup and maintain the retention structures built to prevent flooding.
“This is a tremendously important investment for the residents of Castle Rock to ensure we track and monitor river sediment and the corresponding flood risk to the city and other downstream residents,” Castle Rock Mayor Paul Helenburg said in the announcement from Herrera Beutler’s office.
Remaining funding will go toward studying the turning basin at Lower Martin Bar outside Kalama and improving the basin near the Port of Longview. Turning basins are spots where cargo ships and other large boats can turn around in the river during events such as bad weather or emergencies.
The full turning basin analysis is projected to cost $2.2 million. Half of the funding will come from the Corps of Engineers while the ports in Kalama and Longview are each expected to pay $550,000.
The appropriations bill still needs to be approved by the full House of Representatives before the funding goes into effect for 2023. U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., had included the river projects on their list of local priorities for Congressionally directed spending this year.