Swinomish Channel

Dunlap Towing Company's Rosario tugs a barge along the Swinomish Channel in La Conner. The 12-foot-deep channel has to be dredged every two to three years to prevent it from silting in with sediment.

LA CONNER — A consortium of local officials this afternoon agreed to be a part of the effort to keep the Swinomish Channel dredged.

Representatives from the Port of Skagit, which plans to pay up to $400,000 toward the dredging costs, met with officials from La Conner, Skagit County, the Port of Anacortes and the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe today to discuss how they might be able to contribute to the dredging, which costs about $1.2 million every three years. The Swinomish Indian Tribe did not have a representative at the meeting but has agreed to help as well.

The dredging, conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has traditionally been funded by the federal government — until this year. Though the project could still garner some federal funds, it will be up to local entities to pay for most of the project.

La Conner officials have approved $50,000 of their funds going to the dredging, which is essential to their town’s viability. Other groups at the meeting said they would consider an interlocal agreement drafted by the port that says they will commit to funding future maintenance of the channel.

Read the full story in Thursday's Skagit Valley Herald.

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