The Port of Port Townsend has been awarded $1,102,811 by the US Fish & Wildlife Service through the WA Department of Natural Resources to construct a new breakwater at Point Hudson Marina.

The current breakwater was constructed in WWII, and while it has been repaired a number of times in the intervening 70 years, engineering studies have confirmed that the 600-foot breakwater has a limited remaining lifespan. The breakwater protects the entire Point Hudson public marina from the winds and waves of Port Townsend Bay, including 51 transient mooring slips, and numerous businesses.

“This is a huge part of our community’s economic vitality, and we look forward to having a breakwater that will last at least another 70 years,” said Port executive director Larry Crockett.

According to Crockett, the Port is currently working with the Department of Natural Resources, The Army Corps of Engineers, the City of Port Townsend, The WA Department of Ecology and others on permitting the replacement. The Port hopes to begin work on replacing the breakwater in 2016.

The newer structure will have a slightly smaller footprint, and be more environmentally-friendly, using steel piles instead of creosote.

The total project cost is anticipated to be $5 million; the rest of the project will be funded through the Port’s existing bonding capacity and general fund.

The federal grant was part of a nationwide, competitive selection process to award $12.2 million for projects to support recreational boating through the USFWS’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program.

“State agencies ensure the success of the BIG program by bringing matching funds to the table for these projects,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s assistant director for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program. “In the past three years, states and their partners have supplied more than $50 million in matching funds to construct new transient boating infrastructure.”

Funding for the BIG program comes from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, which boaters and manufacturers support through excise and other taxes on certain fishing and boating equipment and gasoline.