There’s no relief in sight for the silt-plauged Petaluma River.
All the extra mud is becoming costly for businesses, according to the Petaluma Argus-Courier. The Jerico Products company tows barges up- and down the river filled with cargoes of sand (for concrete) and oyster shells (calcium supplements for chickens), and says as the depth diminishes, they have to decrease the amount of material they carry because the barges can’t draw as much. The Petaluma Marina Harbormaster says he’s loosing deeper-draft customers as well. And there’s word of shallow spots in the Petaluma Turning Basin, a favorite with sail- and power boaters.
While the City of Petaluma is responsible for the Marina, the Army Corps of Engineers is the agency that dredges the “river”. According to the Argus-Courier, the Corps has failed to get the money for dredging allocated in the Federal budget, and are about four years behind their normal dredging cycle.
The Petaluma River is either a creek or a tidal slough – depending on who you talk to. The Army Corps of Engineers won’t dredge creeks or sloughs, only rivers, so it became a river by an act of Congress in 1959 to qualify for federal money. What to do? The Argus-Courier says Interim Water Resources and Conservation Director Remleh Scherzinger recommends writing the Army Corps of Engineers through the offices at 202 North McDowell Boulevard, Petaluma, California 94954