Cape Towns Benefit from $3.6 million in Dredging Grants from State

YARMOUTH – It’s no secret that coastal communities benefit greatly from their access to the ocean.

From the direct revenue brought in by commercial fishing to the money spent on the shoreline by recreational boaters and tourists, keeping the waterways safe and accessible is a top priority for these towns.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito awarded $3.6 million in grants to support ten dredging projects along the state’s coastline last week. The grants, awarded through 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program, are expected to remove roughly 188,000 cubic yards of sediment from the harbors of eleven different communities.

The Town of Yarmouth received $91,000 in grants to remove 14,000 cubic yards of sediment from the navigational entrance and lower channel of Bass River, a waterway supporting 75 commercial vessels.

Yarmouth officials plan to restore all-tide navigation along the river for commercial and recreational boaters, enhancing public safety by improving maneuverability through the waterway for emergency response crews.

Yarmouth Director of Natural Resources Karl Von Hone says the sand dredged out of the river will be reused to treat beaches in the town.

“That sand will be utilized for beach nourishment as well as open up navigational channels, some mooring fields, and access to some additional docks on the Dennis side,” Von Hone said.

“We are looking at the navigational channel at the mouth as well as some of the areas of the upper reaches of Bass River in the area of Route 28 and north of Route 28, the Packet Landing, and the marinas. We are still in the permitting process for the areas north of Georgetown Flat.”

The 2018 pilot program awards communities funding on a competitive basis, emphasizing on shovel-ready projects that already have secured permits from the local, state, and federal levels. The program also requires a 50-percent match commitment from municipalities receiving the funding.

Governor Charlie Baker authorized $50-million to saltwater dredging projects back in August.

Von Hone argues that the dredging in the town’s waterways is important not only on an environmental perspective, but also an economic one.

“From the environmental purposes of keeping flushing and keeping a healthy ecosystem going to the navigational end for commercial and recreational boating,” said Von Hone.

“It’s not just for the fisherman themselves, but it’s the ancillary benefits on the economy that comes from recreational and commercial fishing. From restaurants and motels to bait and tackle shops, and lodging.”

Seven other communities on the Cape and Islands received funding from the pilot program.

Barnstable has been granted $1,000,000 to remove 44,000 cubic yards of sediment and coastal dune from the Cotuit Bay channel, increasing its width by 50-percent. The Town of Chatham will us $350,000 remove 40,000 of sediment from the entrance channel to Stage Harbor.

Falmouth plans to remove 8,000 cubic yards of sediment with the $87,500 grant it received from the program, while Harwich will use its $36,000 in grants to remove 2,000 cubic yards from the entrance to Allen Harbor.

Nantucket received $520,000 to remove 13,000 cubic yards of sediment from the entrance of Polpis Harbor. Tisbury was rewarded $129,000 to remove 12,500 yards of sediment from the Lake Tashmoo Channel. The Town of Truro will remove 21,000 cubic yards from various areas of Pamet Harbor.

By Tim Dunn, CapeCod.com News Center

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