Small Cruise Vessel Dock

  • Screenshot 2023-09-07 141326

ELS was contracted by PND Engineers on behalf of the Port of Kalama (Port) to assist with the permitting required for building a dock for small cruise ships on the Columbia River in Kalama, Washington. This project consisted of building an elevated dock for cruise ship mooring that included a landing area, gangway, and tower to provide for an adjustable lift as well as an ADA compliant paved pathway leading to port facilities. ELS wrote the biological evaluation for Endangered Species Act consultation, and coordinated with the regulatory agencies, the Port, and project engineers to obtain permits from the Corps, Ecology, USFWS, NMFS, WDFW, and the City.

 To receive a permit from the Corps for a dock, Endangered Species Act consultation was necessary. ELS proposed that the project was self-mitigating because the cruise ships were anchoring at a beach in shallow water, and the new dock would be in deep water. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) initially disagreed with our evaluation and stated that more mitigation was necessary. ELS then conducted NMFS’ Habitat Equivalency Analysis to show that the project was self-mitigating. During negotiations with NMFS, the Port offered to remove several orphan piles in their marina, and NMFS accepted their offer of a very modest mitigation project.

The Port and PND engineers were very satisfied with the mitigation agreement. The small cruise vessel dock was completed with a ribbon cutting in April 2022. After years of “drive-by” stops at the Port, an American Cruise Line ship now adds this dock as a destination; a change set to boost area tourism.

“We’re very happy with this,” said Patrick Harbison, Port Commissioner. “It’s a great opportunity to partner with American Cruise Lines, and the economic benefit for Kalama and Cowlitz County will be huge.”

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