Quinault officials say seawall breached at Taholah, declare emergency

By The Associated Press

TAHOLAH — The Quinault Indian Nation has declared an emergency for coastal flooding in the lower village of Taholah in coastal Grays Harbor County about 30 miles north of Ocean Shores.

The tribe says the seawall was breached Tuesday by pounding waves in high winds. The water estroyed a smokehouse and several outbuildings.

Wednesday afternoon, an Army Corps of Engineer official said there wasn't actually a breach, but that others from the Corps would be coming to Taholah to assess the problem.

Tribal President Fawn Sharp issued a voluntary evacuation order and asked for a federal disaster declaration for help.

Tribal officials have been talking about moving the lowest parts of the village, which are nearest to the ocean, to higher ground and seeking federal funding.

Sharp met with congressional officials, including Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Congressmen Derek Kilmer and Dave Reichert as well as officials from the Army Corps earlier this month.

“All of these officials were very supportive of our long term plans related to protection of our people from these ongoing dangerous conditions and the funding that will be required to achieve that protection on a permanent basis.”

Temporary mitigation efforts to reinforce the seawall were taken in January, when the Corps of Engineers placed 800 tons of riprap rock.

“It is obvious that Quinault's coastal defenses desperately require a more permanent fix,” said Sharp.

Last modified: March 28. 2014 9:14AM
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