State Awards $3.6 Million in Local Dredging Grants

HYANNIS-In an effort to launch a series of much needed dredging projects across the region, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito presented $3.6 million in grants on behalf of the Department of Energy and Environmental affairs to various Cape town’s through the states ‘2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program’.

“As I have visited every community in this Commonwealth, I have had the opportunity to listen to you, and through these conversations we have been able to learn from you how to be better partners. Whether it’s developing an information and technology grant program, or then taking your advice around dredging and putting it into a program that can work, is really a product of our work together,” said Polito at Aselton Park in Hyannis.

This initiative has been long in the works as dredging upkeep has been a major monetary stumbling block because of the constant shifting of sand, and silt deposits across the region.

“I believe that getting this money in addition to other state funding across the Cape to help deal with the serious dredging issue that we have is going to continue to keep Cape Cod a recreational playground for our residents and our visitors, and it will continue to keep our economy strong,” said Brewster State Representative Tim Whelan.

The Lieutenant Governor says that there are 10 dredging projects which are ‘shovel ready’ and should begin this fall.

“The Town of Barnstable thanks the Commonwealth and our legislators for their support of Barnstable and this dredging project,”said Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells.

“The funding from the Navigational Dredging Pilot Program will help improve the recreational, environmental and economic value of our coastline and estuaries. The Baker-Polito Administration’s strong commitment to supporting coastal resilience is moving Cape Cod rapidly towards a more sustainable future.”

“There is a pressing need for further state action and funding for dredging projects on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket,”said Senator Julian Cyr.

“This funding will be put to immediate use, and will ensure safer and more accessible harbors for all in our region. I am grateful to the Governor and Secretary Ash for working in partnership with the legislature and municipal leaders to recognize this need and provide supportive state funding.”

“Dredging is critical to maintaining our ecological and economic vitality,”said Representative Will Crocker.

“Our harbors are constantly changing due to a number of factors both within and without our control and it necessary to regularly do the work to keep our ports and channels accessible to commercial fishing, recreational boating, and ferrying people and goods to and from the Islands.”

“This funding to support dredging is essential to ensure the ongoing vitality of our harbors,”said Representative Sarah Peake.“Cape Cod harbors are gateways into their respective communities, providing access for both recreational and commercial boating. Channel dredging will also increase public safety because in many cases, boats are ‘high and dry,’ sitting in the mud at low tide. This makes it impossible for rescuers to reach boaters or paddlers in distress. I want to thank the Baker-Polito administration, and particularly Secretary Ash, for his attention and dedication to this issue.”

Dredging grants will be administrated through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, with coordination from the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and the Office of Coastal Zone Management.

Awardees:

Barnstable – $1,000,000:The Town of Barnstable will remove 44,000 cubic yards of sediment and coastal dune from the Cotuit Bay channel and western tip of Sampson’s Island. This project will increase the channel’s width by 50 percent, expand navigation for commercial fishing and recreational boating, reduce the rate of erosion along the bay’s inner shoreline opposite the channel, nourish a coastal barrier beach with benefits for nesting habitats, and improve water quality in a federally-designated Impaired Water under the Clean Water Act.

Chatham – $350,000:The Town of Chatham will remove 40,000 cubic yards of sediment from the entrance channel to Stage Harbor. This project will expand offloading access for commercial fishing operations, protect the town’s investment in the Trap Dock Pier as a public offloading facility, preserve the community’s principal mooring space for deep-draft vessels, and provide needed nourishment to a public coastal beach, with benefits for nearby nesting habitats and wetland resources areas.

Falmouth – $87,500:The Town of Falmouth will remove 8,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Eel River and another 5,000 cubic yards from the Falmouth Inner Harbor, the town’s main commercial harbor. Along the Eel River, this project will enable all-tide navigation to enhance public safety and recreational opportunities. Within the Inner Harbor, the project will expand navigation for deep-draft commercial vessels and support the harbor’s ferry terminal and numerous boat yards, marinas, and marine service businesses.

Harwich – $36,000: The Town of Harwich will remove 2,000 cubic yards of sediment from the navigational approach and entrance to Allen Harbor. This project will nourish a public coastal beach and ensure all-tide navigation for commercial fishing and recreational boating within the developed harbor.

Marshfield and Scituate – $555,500:The Towns of Marshfield and Scituate will remove 10,000 cubic yards of sediment from the mouth of the North and South Rivers. This project will address treacherous conditions that currently exist at low tides and have resulted in boats running aground. The project will restore all-tide navigation for commercial and recreational vessels, and will support the essential needs of six year-round lobstermen, five private marinas, the towns’ harbormasters, and the Massachusetts Environmental Police.

Nantucket – $520,000: The Town of Nantucket will remove 13,000 cubic yards of sediment from the navigational approach and entrance to Polpis Harbor. This project will restore and enhance navigation for both commercial shellfishing and recreational boating, preserve use of the harbor as a safe haven from extreme coastal storms, and improve water quality for the harbor’s eel grass and shellfish habitats through increased tidal exchange.

Swansea – $728,184: The Town of Swansea will remove 8,300 cubic yards of sediment from the Cole River. This project will support the Swansea Waterfront Revitalization initiative, which aims to stimulate tourism and related businesses along the Cole River through enhancements to navigation, public spaces, and recreational opportunities. The project will nourish a public coastal beach, build capacity for public mooring space, and restore all-tide navigation for commercial shellfishing and recreational boating.

Tisbury – $129,000:The Town of Tisbury will remove 12,500 cubic yards of sediment from the Lake Tashmoo Channel. This project will address severe shoaling in the channel, which has forced some large vessels to relocate to other harbors. The project will restore all-tide navigation for deep-draft vessels and support more the than a dozen commercial fishing boats that currently operate out of the harbor. In addition, the project will expand navigation for tourism, enhance public safety and recreational opportunities, and improve water quality for the harbor’s eel grass and shellfish habitats through increased tidal exchange.

Truro – $90,000:The Town of Truro will remove 21,000 cubic yards of sediment from various areas of Pamet Harbor. This project will enhance navigation for recreational boating and further support commercial fishing, lobstering, and aquaculture in and around the harbor. All sediments removed from the harbor will be used beneficially to nourish surrounding coastal beaches and dunes, with benefits for nesting habitats.

Yarmouth – $91,000: The Town of Yarmouth will remove 14,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Bass River’s navigational entrance and lower channel. The Bass River is an economically important waterway for the community, supporting 75 commercial vessels and generating ancillary economic benefits for local food, entertainment, and lodging establishments. This project will restore all-tide navigation along the river for commercial and recreational opportunities, and will enhance public safety through improved maneuverability for emergency responders.

By JOHN BONDAREK, CapeCod.Com News Center

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