Corps of engineers holds open house for new office

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2002

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wants you to know a regulatory field office now exists on the Kenai Peninsula. To that end, the office did a little recruiting last week, when it held an open house May 24 in Kenai.

Officials from the corps were on hand to answer questions people might have about the office and what it's designed to do. About 20 people stopped by during the 3 hour open house, and Kenai office manager Dave Casey said even more called the office with questions.

"We've gotten a lot of phone calls lately. It's really been picking up since the construction season started," Casey said.

The Corps of Engineers is the agency responsible for regulating fill material placed in waters and wetlands across the nation. The Kenai office provides wetland delineations, jurisdictional determinations, pre-application coordination, permits, compliance and enforcement services for an area stretching from the confluence of the Kenai and Moose Rivers to the east, the Kasilof River to the south and Cook Inlet to the west. The office was opened because of a high demand for corps services in the area, according to Mirion Magwood, Corps of Engineers unit coordinator for the Alaska district. Magwood traveled down from Anchorage just for the event.

"We felt a need for a regulatory presence on the Kenai Peninsula. The public said they wanted us here, so, we're here," Magwood said.

Magwood said she also anticipated more business for the Kenai office as word gets out that people don't have to go to Anchorage to get their permits.

"We anticipate the more our presence is known, the busier we'll be," she said.

Casey said anyone hoping to do work on wetlands should stop by the office, as the permit process can often be complicated, and the office is here to help.

"The law doesn't discriminate. Anyone from private landowners to small businesses or corporations," need to get the proper permits, he said.

The office is planning on adding more staff members to deal with the demand in the near future. Magwood said the corps could possibly have as many as three people working at the Kenai office in the near future.

"We hope to hire at least two more persons before the end of the fiscal year (June 30)," she said.

"It should stay busy," she added.

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