Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler and Senator Patty Murray today applauded the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for committing to fund repairs to the damaged Steamboat Slough Road in Wahkiakum County. Herrera Beutler's office teamed up with the office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray to raise the issue with USFWS in search of a solution.
"This solution is welcome news for residents of Wahkiakum County and those who use the Julia Butler Hanson Wildlife Refuge," said Herrera Beutler. "My office has been persistent in working with local officials, Senator Murray and federal agencies to get this dike fixed as soon as possible. Yes, budgets are tight -- but this issue can't be ignored just because it is in a smaller corner of the state. This is an important access point for folks in Wahkiakum County and Southwest Washington, and I'm glad my office could help find a solution."
"Washington state residents take great pride in our heritage of protecting the state's tremendous wildlife," said Sen. Murray. "Thankfully, Congresswoman Herrera Beutler and I were able to partner with Wahkiakum County officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find an answer to the hazardous condition of the Steamboat Slough Road. I am hopeful we can work to find a permanent fix so Southwest Washington residents can enjoy safe, reliable access to the Julia Butler Hanson Wildlife Refuge for many years to come."
In the last few months, the Steamboat Slough Road has experienced lane closures due to erosion of the dike protecting the road and the Julia Butler Hanson Wildlife Refuge. After a meeting organized by the offices of Jaime and Senator Murray, USFWS agreed to pay an estimated $250,000 to fix the dike to protect the road and refuge from the Columbia River. The repair is expected to hold for 4-5 years while officials search for a long-term solution.