News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Detroit Lake funding set for dredging

A new influx of federal money will allow Marion County officials to move forward with a plan to dredge the areas surrounding the Detroit Lake’s two marinas.

U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader announced Dec.23 that the $1.7 billion federal spending package includes $2 million “to support the strategic excavation and relocation of sediment beneath two marinas on Detroit Lake, which supports the economic recovery and development in communities that have been hard hit by climate change-related extreme weather and natural disasters in the North Santiam Canyon.”

Early phases of the work will determine whether more money will be needed. Officials estimate a possible completion date in 2026.

The dredging funds were part of $33 million in the funding bill that Schrader disbursed to communities in Oregon’s Fifth District.

The new money enabled the county to meet its budgeting target for the dredging project, said Chris Eppley, Marion County Director of Community Services.

“I believe that with the addition of that federal appropriation, there will be enough funding available to complete the marina’s excavation,” Eppley told The Canyon Weekly.

The project, which is backed by both Kane’s Marina and the Detroit Lake Marina, has been a long time coming.

County officials first proposed the idea in the 2018-19 fiscal year, but it was tabled because of other challenges (COVID-19 and the wildfires).

The county has selected Maul Foster and Alongi, a Portland-area environmental engineering and consulting firm to scope the project, which is expected to cost approximately $5 million.

Maul Foster and Alongi has been working on its first phase, a cost-benefit analysis of what to do with the debris from the operation/ That work will be followed by engineering and permitting and, finally, construction.
In Detroit, low water years, translates to economic struggles. And because Detroit Lake Marina and Kane’s Marina both lie on shallow shelves, they are forced to close more often when water is being drained from the lake.

Detroit Lake Marina and Kane’s Marina “serve as the economic engines for the area,” said a county report on the dredging project. County officials project a positive economic impact of more than $1 million per year if the dredging moves forward.

Both marinas lost their primary buildings in the 2020 wildfires. Detroit Lake Marina is operating out of portable structures, including some shipping containers, while Kane’s is conducting business out of a pair of trailers.

The county plan calls for the removal of 162,000 cubic yards of sediment from beneath the two marinas, with Maul Foster and Alongi required to provide three possible disposal options. The work would be done in the winter offseason and thus would not interfere with the recreation season at the lake, where August alone can often produce up to 60% of annual revenue for businesses in the region.

Earlier appropriations secured $3 million in initial funding for the project via state lottery funds and federal American Rescue Plan Act funds. The allocation from Scharader’s office should finish off the funding piece.

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