Federal Money Slated To Monitor Sediment In Cowlitz River

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — The Cowlitz River sediment monitoring survey will be federally funded again this year, putting the project back on track after years when the federal government did not allocate the needed money.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler announced Wednesday that an appropriations bill included two Southwest Washington projects: sediment monitoring of the lower Cowlitz River and a navigation improvement project on the Columbia River, the Longview Daily News reported.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been monitoring how much sediment still is sluicing off Mount St. Helens after the 1980 eruption and into local waterways, as it presents a flooding danger to downstream communities.

In 2019, Cowlitz County, the city of Castle Rock, and the Longview, Kelso and Lexington diking districts paid the Corps $110,000 to survey the river after federal funds stopped. It was the first survey since 2015.

The federal government allocated $870,000 in 2020 for a river survey and predesign work for raising the dam in Lexington, which was built just after the eruption to slow the flow of volcanic silt into the river. The dam, however, is starting to fill up with sediment and needs to be raised to remain effective.

This year, the Corps will get $918,000 to complete operations and maintenance work and the survey.