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Nichols Brothers postpones dredging project

Dredging of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders' underwater launching ramp in Holmes Harbor has been postponed until summer, officials said Thursday.

The company had planned to scoop about 150 cubic yards of sediment Thursday and Friday nights from the basin across from its boatyard, according to a legal notice posted Wednesday.

The dredged material, removed during low tide, was to have been deposited and drained onshore, then trucked to an approved inland site to be determined.

But fish-spawning issues and other concerns prompted the postponement, said Barb Jaksa, the company's project and permitting coordinator.

The company was planning to dredge by floodlight for three hours last night and tonight under permits approved by the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Island County.

The permit window closes Saturday, however, and the earliest the dredging can be begin again is July 16, Jaksa said.

She said the underwater ramp, which Nichols Brothers uses to launch vessels and components it builds and services, requires maintenance at least once a year, Jaksa said.

She said the primary problem is sediment deposited by stormwater draining into the harbor. She said a county stormwater outflow pipe sits next to the company's boat ramp.

Jaksa said the company prefers to do maintenance dredging in summer, because more low tides occur during daylight, eliminating the need for floodlights and night noise that can disrupt the neighborhood.

"There's less impact during the day," she said.

She said the current window was small; permission from the county wasn't obtained until mid-December.

"That didn't leave us much time," she said.

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