Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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  • A long-anticipated dredging project in Unalaska is expected to commence in September despite a temporary delay in signing the project agreement earlier this week.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers has wrapped up to major cleanup efforts in the Unalaska Valley this summer, with more plans on the way.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is cleaning up diesel-contaminated soil in Unalaska, nearing completion of the last remaining locations of their decades-long cleanup efforts in the Unalaska Valley. They contracted with the recently-formed OC Environmental Services, an environmental firm owned and operated by Unalaska’s Native corporation, to conduct the field cleanup, and say the cleanup should be finished within the next few weeks.
  • Munition experts will visit Unalaska on Friday to respond to what might be an unexploded device that was found on Unalaska’s shore. Fire Chief Ben Knowles responded to the call earlier in the month when someone reported a suspicious object. “A hiker came in and reported what they believed to be an old unexploded ordnance, resembling some sort of landmine, anti-personnel, or other mine,” Knowles said.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to clean up Fort Learnard, a former World War II military outpost in Unalaska Bay. The fort housed anti-aircraft and anti-ship artillery at Eider Point, on the western side of the bay.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday it had received funding approval for the Unalaska Bay dredging project, which aims to clear a channel through an underwater shoal at the entrance to Iliuliuk Bay, just outside Dutch Harbor and the Unalaska Spit.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is moving forward with dredging the entrance to Iliuliuk Bay, a project that has been in the works for years. Once finished, the project would create a channel to pass through a large shoal of glacial moraine that runs across the bay. Currently, those compressed glacial boulders and rocks make the water much shallower than the surrounding areas.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers visited Unalaska in late June to teach Unalaskans about unexploded ordnance — that is, undetonated explosives. The U.S. military left lots of unexploded ordnance when they were stationed in the Aleutian Islands during World War II. And grenades, chemical weapons and other munitions have been turning up on the island’s hiking trails and beaches for decades.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers is moving closer to dealing with a contaminated World War II-era military site long abandoned in the Aleutian Islands. At a meeting Wednesday night in Unalaska, representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers said they would send a contractor to Chernofski Harbor in May. They aim to remove around 800 tons of soil and debris that was contaminated by diesel oil tanks during World War II. The cleanup site covers more than 1,200 acres in Chernofski Harbor, on the southwestern edge of Unalaska Island. Chernofski village was inhabited for thousands of years, but people stopped living there in the early 20th century, and the navy operated a port there from 1942 to 1945.
  • Unalaska may be one step closer to cleaning up some of the contaminated military sites left over from World War II.Formerly Used Defense Sites — or FUDS — are properties the military used for things like defense or weapons testing. And as anyone who has spent any time in Unalaska surely knows, there are World War II sites all over the island.Rena Flint is the project coordinator for the Amaknak FUDS, which covers 190 thousand acres across Unalaska and Amaknak Islands. And while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has taken strides to clean up some of those places, it’s been a long road, with lots of red tape.