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USACE Submits Iliuliuk Bay Dredging Project Proposal to Congress

Berett Wilber
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says funding for the dredging project could become available as soon as the end of the year.

 A dredging project in Iliuliuk Bay is inching forward through national legislative channels.

The Unalaska dredging project would remove a large bar to open the Port of Dutch Harbor to deeper-draft vessels—and bigger business.

In February, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) submitted the proposed project to Congress. The next steps are a little murky. First, the project needs to be authorized by Congress to be included in a bill. Then, once it's in that bill, it needs to be funded by a congressional committee.

The ultimate decision of when, or even whether, the project will begin is still undecided. 

However, the proposal to streamline shipping traffic cleared several early hurdles in recent years. In 2018 USACE finished a two-year feasibility study, recommended the dredging project, and won initial approval from Unalaska’s City Council

The project would cost nearly $35 million, according to USACE. The federal government would shoulder about three-quarters of the cost, while the City of Unalaska is expected to pay the remaining quarter. 

In addition to yearly maintenance, the project is predicted to cost the city $12.2 million over the next 30 years. 

USACE estimated that in all, the project wil net the city more than $1.3 million per year in commercial benefits—including reduced fuel costs, vessel efficiency, and labor. 

Caroline reported for KUCB in 2020.
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