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Wetlands project funded

The Port of Sunnyside has received word that the federal Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which includes a $233,000 grant for the Port's proposed wetlands project, has passed through Congress.

The funds are now a part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget, said Amber Hansen, Sunnyside Port District manager.

"With the funds in the Corps' budget, work is set to resume on the Port's Yakima River Eco-System Restoration Project," she explained.

Hansen said the work is expected to begin Tuesday, Oct. 12. The Port's project is the only one in the Pacific Northwest to receive funding through the Corps, Hansen said.

"We are very excited and honored to have been granted these funds and to start this much needed project," she said.

The Port recently completed the purchase of 221 acres of Yakima River front property with the intention of transforming it into a wetlands habitat and riparian area.

The Port and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are now ready to move ahead with the necessary feasibility study and preliminary designs of the project, Hansen said.

She said this first step should be competed by the end of 2005 and then design engineering will get underway.

"The Port has been working with the Army Corps of Engineers since June 2002," she added.

During that time much of the preliminary work on the project was completed, but work was halted due to a lack of funding, she explained

"But with these funds we will be able to proceed," she said.

The wetlands habitat will be built over the next several years ans will be ready to begin receiving water from the Port's industrial wastewater treatment facility by 2007.

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