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Hellgate Jetboat Excursions seeks to renew a dredge and fill permit for the Rogue River

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Hellgate Jetboat Excursions is seeking the renewal of a dredge and fill permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District.

Nine impacted residents living along the Rogue River received an initial 30-day public notice that was originally going to close for public comment on July 4, 2021 and has since been extended to August 3, 2021.

The areas that would be impacted by dredging include the Loading Dock, Middleton Island, Whitehorse Park, Wharton Riffle, Brushy Chutes, Robertson Creek, Robertson Bridge, Two Bit Riffle, and Hog Creek.

The President for Hellgate Jetboat Excursions, Travis Hamlyn said this is a permit the company has maintained for more than 20 years.

Hamlyn said the permit is renewed every 5-10 years in case water levels at the nine listed areas become too low to pass through and 4 locations were added to this year's permit request: Middleton Island riffle, Robertson Creek riffle, Robertson Bridge Turn riffle and the loading dock area in Grants Pass.

Hamlyn said there is currently not a need to dredge and fill, but Hellgate must have the permit in case that company would need to in short notice.

The 10-year authorization would allow Hellgate to dredge and discharge up to 1,050 cubic yards of sediment below the OHWM of the Rogue River as needed using different methods including the prop-wash, excavator, and bulk bag methods.

In Hellgate’s application to the U.S. Army Corps, it proposes to avoid and minimize impacts from the project by incorporating best management practices including a dredging operation plan which includes the use of erosion control measures and turbidity monitoring. It also plans to work within the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife preferred in-water work window to minimize impacts to aquatic species.

Clean Water Act guidelines are the substantive criteria used in evaluating discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.

Marilyn Mac Gregor is an impacted retired resident living along the Rogue River in Grants Pass and she said, “I have nothing against the company or the way it's running right now, but I do object to them changing the environment and the river.”

Any person may request in writing within the comment period a public hearing and provide a reason for the request.

Documents and materials related to water quality issues as a result of the proposal are available for examination and copying at Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, 401 Water Quality Permit Coordinator, Northwest Region, 700 NE Multnomah Street, Suite 600, Portland, Oregon 97232. Other materials are available by contacting the Corps.

Questions on the water quality certification process may be addressed to the 401 Permit Coordinator, (503) 229-5623, (800) 452-4011, or (800) 735-2900.