Coast Guard report states Umpqua River Lighthouse not required for safe navigation

SEATTLE — The U. S. Coast Guard is releasing a Waterways Analysis and Management System report on the Umpqua River in Oregon which states that the Umpqua River Lighthouse is not required for safe navigation. This determination opens the door for the U.S. Coast Guard to begin the process to discontinue the Umpqua River Light as a federal aid to navigation.

The review included multiple surveys from local waterway users, as well as consultation with commercial towing companies, the Port of Umpqua, and other local entities.  The majority of respondents indicated the Umpqua River Light is a secondary, or backup aid to navigation.

Umpqua River LighthouseSpecific plans for the disposition of the lighthouse will be made at a later time.  There are currently no plans to remove the historic Fresnel lens from the lighthouse.

One possible future action is the transfer of ownership of a lighthouse via the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA) of 2000.  This process was set up to transfer lighthouses to preservation groups who can preserve historic property.  During the process, a determination is made as to which interested groups can best manage and preserve the property.  Under NHLPA, the classical lens may be transferred with the lighthouse and used as a private aid to navigation or as a static display.

Rear Admiral Gary T Blore, Commander of the Thirteenth Coast Guard District stated: “The determination of navigational necessity of Umpqua River Light was made only after careful review and consideration.  While this lighthouse may no longer be necessary as a primary, federally-maintained aid to navigation, I recognize and am sensitive to the significant community and economic importance of this historical structure to the local community.  We are committed to the continued operation of this lighthouse until a transfer strategy is developed, and will ensure public comment is encouraged.

A copy of the Waterways Analysis and Management System (WAMS)report can be found at: http://www.uscg.mil/d13/dpw/wams.asp

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