At the Port of Brookings Harbors regular meeting Tuesday night, Port Manager Russ Crabtree announced the federal government has cut funding for maintenance dredging for three Southern Oregon ports.

The ports of Brookings, Gold Beach and Bandon were zeroed from receiving government funds for their annual dredging projects for 2003.

Each year the port channels are dredged in May or June to remove sand and silt which builds up over time and causes a safety hazard for boats trying to enter and exit the harbor.

Crabtree said the office of management and budget for the state of Oregon told him they received directions to zero all waterways with a channel depth of 14 feet or less.

This is not going to stand, Crabtree said. We are adamant about this. The government has a harbor maintenance trust fund dedicated to the nations waterways. They have a billion dollars worth of surplus. Were not asking for more money.

Historically, the Chetco River is allotted about $400,00 to $450,000 per year from the government for dredging, the Rogue River receives $600,00 to 700,000 per year, and the Coquille receives about $300,000 to $350,000 per year.

Crabtree said the three communities have banded together and have sent officials to Washington to lobby on behalf of the ports.

I am carrying the battle flag for the Port of Brookings Harbor, he said. We are currently launching a community, state and national effort to reinstate the appropriations of funds for these ports.