Bonneville shutdown shouldn’t affect Plateau wheat shipping


WATERVILLE — A shipping closure on the Bonneville Lock and Dam shouldn’t have much impact on most Waterville Plateau wheat farmers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it must replace a concrete wall section in the Bonneville navigation lock. In the meantime, river traffic through the lock is closed until Sept. 30.

HighLine Grain Growers, the co-op which represents about 3,000 farmers and landowners north of I-90, ships most of its product by truck or by railroad from its Wenatchee elevator. CEO Paul Katovich says harvest is wrapping up, with about 95 percent of Douglas County yields already brought in.

“For those farmers who would be delivering to the river or relying heavily on barge traffic to affect their harvest, those guys are all done,” Katovich says. “They’ve been done for a month.”