Wyden: Feds Issue Permit for In-Water Work at New NOAA Facility in Newport
Portland, OR -- Oregon Senator Ron Wyden announced today that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued the final review of the joint permit application necessary to complete dredging and piling work at the new NOAA facility in Newport. Work may start as early as today.
Wyden called NMFS on last Friday after learning during a town hall meeting that critical in-water work at the NOAA facility was on hold until the necessary permits were issued. In-water work such as dredging and pile driving can only be done between November 1 and February 15 each year in order to protect salmon runs. Failure to get the work completed by February 15 could delay the projects until next November. The NMFS Biological Opinion was the last major step before the Army Corp of Engineers could issue the permit.
“The clock was ticking and both equipment and workers were sitting idle while everyone waited for the necessary permits,” Wyden said. “I talked to officials at NMFS as soon as I heard about this on Friday and their credit they got it taken care of.”
NOAA announced in March that it was moving its Pacific Fleet from Seattle to Newport. Construction on two on-shore buildings began in May. Work on the piers that the fleet will need was scheduled to start November 1, but has been on hold awaiting the permits.