Dungeness River: Lower river owners say 'not interested' on proposed buyout by county; upper river buyout won't happen for now as federal buyout grant is denied

from KONP

August 22, 2002

(Dungeness, WA) -- A group of property owners at the mouth of the Dungeness River is saying "no way" to a proposed county buyout of their land. Clallam County received a 1-point-1 million dollar grant from the Salmon Recovery Board for the Dungeness estuary restoration project in April. County officials say the money would be used to buy River's End property from "willing" sellers at its appraised value. The county would then remove the buildings and septic systems and reforest the flood plain with native shrubs and vegetation. Dungeness Beach Association President Mark Thomas says 22 of 24 land owners at River's End are not willing to sell their property. 

Commissioner Steve Tharinger says the county has received at least 8 letters from River's End property owners stating interest in the county buying their land. The letters of intent allow the county to hire appraisers and then make offers to property owners. 

The River's End area was once the Delta of the Dungeness River. The banks are diked and armored in places to protect property that frequently floods. Tharinger says the county was able to secure the grant with the combination of flood mitigation, health issues with septic tank problems during high water and salmon recovery.

(Port Angeles, WA) -- No federal money is being allocated for a county buyout of property owners on Kinkade Island. The Federal Emergency Management Administration has denied Clallam County's application for one million dollars in funding -- citing a failure to adequately prove enough financial benefit compared with the project's estimated cost. As reported by the Sequim Gazette, the county was also unable to raise enough matching funds. Department of Community Development Director Bob Martin says he's disappointed with the denial of funds, adding FEMA did not perceive the threat of future damage to property when determining the cost-benefit ratio for the application. Kinkade Island is a gravel bar in the middle of the Dungeness River at the end of River Road. The Dungeness River borders one side of the island, while Kinkade Creek is on the other sides. About 60 percent of the River water now flows through the creek bed. Martin says he's afraid the river will change its course to flow through the creek.

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