The Cowlitz River Sediment Monitoring Survey will be federally funded again this year, putting the project back on track after several years in which the federal government did not allocate the necessary funds.
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler said in a press release on Wednesday that the Energy and Water Subcommittee Appropriations Bill FY22 included two projects in southwest Washington: monitoring sediment in the Lower Cowlitz River and a Columbia River Turning Basin Navigation Improvement Project.
The US Army Corps of Engineers monitored the amount of sediment still flowing from Mount St. Helens after the 1980 eruption and in local waterways as they present a flood hazard to communities in downstream.
In 2019, Cowlitz County, the Town of Castle Rock, and the dike districts of Longview, Kelso and Lexington paid the Corps $ 110,000 to survey the river after federal funding failed. This investigation was the first since 2015. The federal government allocated $ 870,000 in 2020 to the Corps to allow for a river survey and preconception work to raise the Lexington Dam, which was built in the years immediately after the eruption to slow the flow of silt volcanoes into the river. The dam, however, begins to fill with sediment and must be raised to remain effective.
This year, the Corps will receive $ 918,000 to complete operations and maintenance work and investigation.