Timing problems with state and federal agencies caused Duane Hagadone on Tuesday to withdraw his proposal to dredge Blackwell Island and expand the marina, but he is far from giving up on the multi-million dollar project.
Marina Yacht Club LLC pulled its application with the Idaho Department of Lands, opting to wait until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality decide whether to issue permits that would allow the widening and deepening of the Blackwell Island channel to accommodate larger boats.
Once those decisions are made, the company will resubmit the application to the Lands Department.
“We’re stuck in a Catch-22 of timing,” Hagadone spokesman John Barlow said.
The result will delay the project by a year. Hagadone had hoped to get approval from the state and federal agencies in time to start the first phase of dredging in October.
The dredging would make the channel about 50 percent wider and at least 8 feet deep. The expansion would allow for about 530 boat slips, 29 more than are at the marina on the man-made island bisected by U.S. Highway 95 as it crosses the Spokane River.
Coeur d’Alene resident Julie Dalsaso, who thinks the company should update the marina without dredging the channel, said she was glad government agencies are taking their time and requiring Hagadone to follow the process.
“They are going to have to work for it,” Dalsaso said.
Hagadone decided to withdraw the application because he knew he wasn’t going to have adequate information in time to appeal the lands department’s July denial of the dredging request.
At the time, department officials said they had insufficient information to make a decision because they needed the information in the DEQ’s draft water quality analysis. But by law, the lands department had to make a decision within 30 days of its June 9 public hearing.
Hagadone anticipated getting the DEQ certification, which will outline what type of dredging is allowed, how often workers should test the water quality during excavation, and precautions to protect ground water and the aquifer, by Aug. 15.
But now DEQ has asked for an extension because the Army Corps is questioning whether it has adequate information about the dredging and its effect on the environment.
Corps experts are reviewing soil samples and other tests provided by the marina company to determine whether they have adequate information or more tests are needed.
The potential need for more extensive tests was raised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a July 20 letter stating it has “significant concerns” and that the current information fails to demonstrate how the proposed dredging would prevent the release of heavy metals and other contaminants into the water.
Barlow said the EPA hasn’t gotten the latest information on the project and isn’t aware that the majority of the dredging will be done in the dry. The company has agreed that workers would use dams to keep out the water. In some spots, closer to the mouth of the channel, crews would use silt fences to keep the potentially contaminated soils from escaping.
He plans to meet with the federal agencies in September to clarify the proposal.
EPA officials weren’t available for comment Tuesday evening, but in an earlier interview John Olson of the Boise office said the agency might not have received the latest changes to the marina project. Yet he said that the corps has a responsibility to ensure all the testing is adequate.
The EPA also wants Hagadone to consider providing more fish habitat along the shoreline. Currently the company is proposing placing large rocks along nearly a mile of shoreline. The EPA suggests mixing the rock with stumps, logs and live vegetation.
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