By Heather Turner
BENTON COUNTY, Ore. — Benton County natural areas and parks managers warn boaters: watch out for damaged ramps along the Alsea River.
They say the recent storms caused water levels to hit well past the flood stage along the Alsea River corridor, but when the waters receded, they left behind an accumulation of debris and silt buildup, in some areas around four to five inches, on the ramps.
Workers say the Mill Creek, Campbell, and Salmonberry boat ramps along the Alsea River were all overtaken and slightly damaged by the heavy silt and debris deposits, creating hazardous conditions.
Benton County leaders say this week they’ll be cleaning up the mess. Until then, they warn boaters to be careful when using the ramps.
“There’s so much silt right now, in particular at Mill Creek, that it’s not practical, it’s not safe, I think boaters are going to get stuck if they try to back a trailer and a boat down that ramp,” said Benton County Natural Areas & Parks Director Jeff Powers.
Benton County managers say even after the ramps are clear, boaters need to be careful at end of the ramps where there might be unknown hazards like rocks and trees.
Damage and cleanup costs along the Alsea corridor are estimated to be around $10,000-$12,000.
Crews say they expect all three of the boat ramps to be cleared and ready for use within the next week.