The Bristol Bay Times

Iliuliuk Bay dredging to start this fall; agreement signed by feds and Unalaska city officials

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Unalaska city officials signed an agreement on March 29 to begin dredging in Iliuliuk Bay later this year.

Unalaska Mayor Vince Tutiakoff Sr. and City Council members attended the signing at Unalaska City Hall, while City Manager Bil Homka attended in person in Anchorage. Homka signed the agreement alongside the Corps’ Alaska District Commander Col. Jeffrey Palazzini.

Palazzini described the project as “a vital upgrade to an important port facility that serves our nation.”

The project will deepen the entryway to the port, allowing large ships to pass more easily into Dutch Harbor.

Unalaska Port Director Peggy McLaughlin said the project is long and well thought-out. She noted the high level of public engagement with the process.

“It’s a huge, deep breath of safety, environmental protection and it’s also a really big opportunity for local businesses and local shipping companies to expand their revenues,” McLaughlin said.

The dredging site is almost two miles from Front Beach, a residential area, but the Corps said the beach won’t be affected.


Bruce Sexauer leads civil works project management with the Corps. He said concerns about erosion on Front Beach have been taken into account. Several studies conducted by the Corps show that any impact to the beach would be minimal.

“Our models have shown us that the work that we’re doing is far too deep to have any effect on the wave environment,” Sexauer said. “If it were shallower, then you would see something – but it’s already down 42 feet, so it’s down pretty deep…We do not expect there to be any additional erosion due to this project.”

The Corps plans to continue monitoring the area for any changes in erosion patterns. No issues are expected for nearby marine mammals.