Dillingham uses junked cars to help halt erosion

Posted: Monday, November 27, 2000

DILLINGHAM (AP) -- The City of Dillingham is resorting to some desperate measures to keep the coastline along Snag Point from being washed into the Bering Sea by the Nushagak River.

About 10 feet of coastline has been swept away by storm tides in recent years, City Planner John Fulton said.

The city is trying to halt the erosion by placing junked cars and old dump boxes along the banks, he said. It's hoped that the heavy metal will stabilize the coastline and weaken the wave energy.

Dillingham used some of the old wrecks that had been abandoned along Snag Point, discarding anything that might have old oil in it like axles and engine blocks.

''It's a temporary fix, or more like emergency repair,'' Fulton told The Bristol Bay Times. ''With more storms and more high tides predicted, we had to do something.''

The city is in danger of losing the main sewer pipe that leads to the lagoon. The manhole that provides access to the outfall line is within 20 feet of the shoreline because of erosion.

Crews will be unable to unplug the outfall line if they lose the manhole, Fulton said.

Junked cars had to be used because there aren't any large rocks or rip-rap along the beach, city officials said.

The comings and goings of the Nushagak River has been eating away at the banks along Snag Point for years.

When Fulton arrived at Dillingham 16 years ago, people were able to drive down the road and a gently sloping bank to the beach, he said. Now, the road ends in a vertical drop of about four feet to the beach below.

''A lot has been lost in 16 years,'' Fulton said.

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