Official News Release regarding popular Beach Drive seawall project

Hot off the press from the Seattle Division of US Army Corp of Engineers:

SEATTLE – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District, has partnered with the Seattle Parks and Recreation to design and implement a coastal storm damage reduction project under Section 103 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1962, as amended. The public comment period for this project runs through Dec. 31.

Emma Schmitz Overlook is located at 4503 Beach Drive SW, south of Alki Point in Seattle. The site includes a seawall built around 1927 that has deteriorated over time. Currently coastal storms and erosion threaten public infrastructure located in and around the seawall, including a 54-inch King County sewer main, a major public arterial, city park property and other underground utilities. The recommended plan includes construction of a soldier pile seawall parallel to the shoreline throughout the study area. The new seawall would be a few feet higher and seaward of the existing seawall. This would provide protection against damages caused by coastal storm events that occur in Puget Sound.

In 1998, the City of Seattle was prompted to take emergency action to stabilize the shoreline to the north of the proposed federal project when storm waves resulted in the failure of a similar section of existing seawall and subsequent erosion of shoreline protection that threatened utilities, roadways, and public lands. The city completed permanent emergency repairs on this adjacent site, which is not included in the scope of the proposed Federal project.

The recommended plan was chosen because it has the least environmental impacts, cost the least cost and meets all project purposes. Coordination with resource agencies and federal tribes is ongoing and preliminary indications expect a concurrence with the project.

The implementation cost of the recommended plan is estimated to be $2.29 million and will be cost-shared 65 percent federal ($1,488,000) and 35 percent non-federal ($801,000). The non-federal sponsor, Seattle Parks and Recreation, is responsible for all lands, easements, right-of-ways, relocations, and/or disposal areas which are controlled by the sponsor. Economic analysis suggests the project could prevent millions of dollars of physical and non-physical damages, resulting in a favorable benefit-cost ratio.

Submit comments to this office, Attn: Environmental and Cultural Resources Branch, no later than December 31, 2014 to ensure consideration. In addition to sending comments via mail, comments may be e-mailed to Melissa.L.Leslie@usace.army.mil. The Notice of Availability and Draft DPR/EA can be found at the following website: http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/EnvironmentalDocuments/2014EnvironmentalDocuments.aspx. Requests for additional information should be directed to Ms. Melissa Leslie at 206-764-6587, or the above e-mail address.
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Tanya M. King
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
206-764-6958 (office)
206-422-2679 (cell)
206-764-3769 (fax)

http://www.nws.usace.army.mil

I would like to think that this project could grease the skids of King County in favor of Beach Drive residents considering to raise their own seawalls from events caused by global warming.

Historic1968 Emma Schmitz Park seawall circa 1968. Photo credit to City of Seattle archives

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Comment period open for Emma Schmitz Memorial seawall project

With an official press release due out as soon as this Monday, Beach Drive Blog has been notified by Seattle Parks and the Seattle District of the US Army Corp of Engineers that public comment is now open in regard to the pending seawall replacement for the southern section of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook Park. Public Comment closes December 31st 2014. Click here for the Public Notice. Comments may be e-mailed to Melissa.L.Leslie@usace.army.mil.

Tanya M King, Public Affairs Specialist with the Corp is very interested in being the single point of contact for any unofficial comments or concerns residents may have regarding the project. There are several different public entities within the immediate scope of the project (Seattle Parks, King County sewer and road, City of Seattle utilities & sidewalk, etc) and Tanya is committed to work with all jurisdictions to get your answers “it may take a day or two or even longer in some cases, but I will do my best to make life easier for residents looking for answers or expressing concerns”. Please see Tanya’s contact info at the bottom of post.

We wrote an article back in April when Becky Rufin, Parks Engineering Manager with Seattle Parks & Rec was kind enough to share the 64 page proposed plan for the new seawall. Per Becky’s email today…

If approved by the federal government, the Seattle Parks Department will be entering into a cost-sharing agreement for replacement of this aging structure. Project design and construction would actually be executed by USACE.
Please note there is currently a public review period open for the proposal, and comments must be received by December 31, 2014.

Beach Drive Blog asked Tanya to confirm a few specifics regarding the project. She responded before I could even finish the post!

How much taller will the new wall stand above the existing? 2 to 3 feet

Is any type of railing going to be installed? Too early to tell. Not to that level of design stage yet but it would be built low if built at all.

What if any new landscaping will there be? Would work with parks dept. but low native shrub/vegetation is what we’d expect in respecting neighbor’s views.

One new aspect to the plan is in respect of losing a few feet of public beach when the proposed wall is built in front of the old wall…

Due to the close proximity of the sewer main to the existing seawall structure, moving the alignment of the new seawall landward was assumed to increase the risks of potential failures during construction and significantly increase overall costs of the project. Therefore, the decision was made to move the alignment slightly waterward and mitigate for any nearshore (beach) area lost as a result of the project. A small amount (0.02 acres) of beach would be lost due to the footprint of the new seawall. To offset the loss of habitat, the project would reclaim adjacent beach habitat by removing a portion of riprap placed in the 1998 City of Seattle emergency repair. This entails lengthening the amount of seawall installed in order to stabilize the shoreline back to or near its pre- 1998 alignment and removing the waterward riprap and fill materials. The proposed ratio would be a 1:1 replacement as this habitat reclaims the lost habitat imposed by the new seawall and could begin to function immediately post-construction.

I think Emma herself would be pleased to know her overlook park could grow a little wider…

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This 1940’s photo shows Emma (on right) with her daughter-in-law Frankie posing beside the old family mansion that once stood where Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park is now. Courtesy of Bob Thomas who found the photo in an attic of a property he now owns.

Again, please contact Tanya for any unofficial (non-public) questions or concerns regarding this long overdue project,

Tanya M. King
Public Affairs Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District
206-764-6958 (office)
206-422-2679 (cell)
206-764-3769 (fax)
http://www.nws.usace.army.mil 

 

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Wind Storm: AFTERMATH!

Well, it appears we may have gotten away with one as long as a hill doesn’t slide away in the next day or so. The timing of the tides vs wind spared many a basements on the west side of the street.

Don’t tell this to Rudolph and Santa though. They were pretty blown away at the 50 knot gusts!

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Asked Mr. Menashe about how the Christmas village faired last night, blessed at just a few knock-downs and the toppling of the ornamental arch over the walk way. Not bad at all!

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Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

M/V Puget fetching debris off Beach Drive

The US Army Corp of Engineers are busy hauling off one the largest flotillas of debris I’ve seen off our shores. As a frequent boater out here, I can’t imagine trying to maneuver around these half sunken hazards at night. Rudolph the Radar better be extra bright when he leads the Christmas ships on the 13th!

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Port of Manchester in the background…

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The M/V Puget has been dedicated for this type of debris removal in the Seattle District…

The Corps has continuing authority to study and undertake projects to remove and dispose of derelict objects such as sunken vessels, waterfront debris and derelict structures, and other sources of drift that may damage vessels or threaten public health, recreation, or the environment at publicly maintained commercial boat harbors. The harbor need not be, but usually is a Corps project. Congressional authorization is required for projects with Federal costs of $400,000 or more. (USACE Engineering Regulation 1105-2-100)

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Port of Manchester WA?

Yes, they actually do have an “official port” where their 3 elected members meet at the library once a month. Now they have something to really talk about, two 1000+ foot cargo ships anchored off their shores! Long term neighbors along Beach Drive have commented about never recalling cargo ships of this size tucking in behind Blake Island.

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The first cargo ship anchoring off Manchester was reported on November 6th by B-Town Blog as making an abrupt U-turn due to weather or mechanical issues…

“The ship Hyundai Force was going south to Tacoma at 1:15 p.m. when it made a U-turn and proceeded slowly in a northern direction.
When the ship made the U-turn it was just north of Three Tree Point.
As it made the U-turn, it blew its fog horn several times.
Clearly must be a response to the strong winds.
Note the trail of white behind the ship showing where it made its U-Turn.”

The Hyundia Force and the NYK Constellation are most likely hanging out waiting for the contract embattled Longshoreman in Tacoma to pay attention to them. The work slowdown has been stacking up ships and cargo up and down ports of the West coast. The Facebook page for Pier Trucker Seattle pretty much sums up how the slowdown is affecting our local transportation and exports (warning for explicit language).

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Are you missing an industrial pontoon boat?

It looks like a dock has lifted anchor and is now off the shores of (approx) 4800 – 5000 Beach Drive SW.  My apologies for the poor photo quality.

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The “Justin” rides again!

I had to rub my eyes a few times but confirmed via AIS what I saw out in the Straits of Jaun de Fuca. it was the same 1950’s army landing craft that had sunk off the shores of Beach Drive in late 2011.

 

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She looked as good as new cruising south towards Admiralty inlet. Her current position appears to be in Lake Union according to MarineTraffic.Com.

JustinLUPlease join me in wishing Justin calm, safe seas for the rest of her career.

 

Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

 

Farewell, SV Hot Potato

Yesterday, around 1:45 pm the SPD returned to where the (assumed) abandoned sailboat was temporarily anchored.

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Thanks to BD neigbhor, Jeri, for sending us this photo of the “SV Hot Potato” being towed away by the SPD.
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Voyage of the sv Hot Potato

Making headlines for the second straight day on BDB, folks on the 5000 block of Beach Drive woke up to the un-named/registered 26 foot sailing vessel anchored out in front of their views.

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You ask how you could be so blessed to have this blue tarped boat swaying near your buoys?? Seems it was towed there by what looked like the Seattle Harbor Patrol! We first noticed the sailboat several days ago anchored out front of Weather Watch Park but recently noticed it was leap frogging south about a hundred yards or so during every flood tide. Here’s how it unfolded yesterday…

1:00 PM – The head honcho of BDB makes a call to the Coast Guard to alert them of an unsecured vessel. They pass her onto Seattle Harbor Patrol which in turn passes the buck to King County which in turn tells her to contact the Coast Guard… well, see a pattern here? Nobody wants responsibility to tow or secure the boat.

6:15 PM – The 26′ “Hot Potato” floats off it’s anchor heading out towards the shipping channel

8:00 PM – Near miss! A container ship heading north almost sends Hot Potato down to Davy Jone’s locker for good.

Approx 9:15 PM – A patrol boat with blue lights flashing is seen towing said vessel southward towards which we thought might be Des Moines or Tacoma.

Some good news for our Beach Drive neighbors is that 2 notices have been neatly taped to the aft cabin of Hot Potato. One of which reads Notice of Intent to Obtain Custody. It’s one of the first steps in disposing derelict vessels in an environmentally responsible way and, not to mention, allows time for the rightful owner to step forward.

(b) Before taking temporary possession of the vessel, the authorized public entity must make reasonable attempts to consult with the department or the United States coast guard to ensure that other remedies are not available. The basis for taking temporary possession of the vessel must be set out in writing by the authorized public entity within seven days of taking action and be submitted to the owner, if known, as soon thereafter as is reasonable. If the authorized public entity has not already provided the required notice, immediately after taking possession of the vessel, the authorized public entity must initiate the notice provisions in subsection (1) of this section. The authorized public entity must complete the notice requirements of subsection (1) of this section before using or disposing of the vessel as authorized in RCW 79.100.050.

 

In other news, wouldn’t you think they could find a more visible location for this sign?

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Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Do you know the owner of this sailboat?

This 20 – 25 foot sail boat (similar to a Thunderbird style boat) appears to be drifting.

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We first noticed this boat closer to Weather Watch Park. We are not sure if it broke anchor or is dragging anchor. The boat is currently off the shores of Emma Schmitz View Point (approx 4600 Beach Drive).
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A couple of notices have been posted on the vessel, which appears to be unoccupied.  If you, or someone you know, is the captain of this boat, please let them know it’s gone adrift!

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The authorities have been notified.