Wellfleet Harbor Dredging Project Moving Foward

Photo courtesy: Wellfletet SPAT
A lack of dredging has made Wellfleet Harbor nearly inaccessible at low tide

WELLFLEET –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comment on long-awaited plans to dredge Wellfleet Harbor, in what local officials are hoping is a good sign for the project.

The harbor has been choked with sand due to a lack of dredging, now making it impossible for boats to come in and out of the area for at least two hours on each side of low tide.

The project would create a channel measuring 10 feet below mean low water, by 125 feet wide.

It would also include a 10-foot anchorage basin at the head of the channel.

“Natural shoaling processes in the 10-foot deep entrance channel and the 10-foot deep anchorage have reduced available depths, creating navigational hazards at lower tidal stages,” said Project Manager Craig Martin.

“The proposed work involves the maintenance dredging of about 160,000 cubic yards of material from the authorized project and will restore the entrance channel and the anchorage to their authorized dimensions,” he said.

Dredging materials will be brought to the Cape Cod Bay Disposal Site, about 8 miles west of the harbor.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO
Low tide and high silt runs moored boats aground in Wellfleet Harbor.

“This is great news from the Army Corps. It down show that the project is moving forward,” said Wellfleet Harbormaster Michael Flanagan.

The Corps said work will take place over a 4-month period.

Flanagan, who called the conditions in the harbor “very bad,” is hoping the project will begin in the fall of 2018.

“It’s a public safety issue. If there were to be an emergency around these times of low tide, we would be unable to respond out of the harbor here. We’d have to call in assistance from probably Provincetown,” said Flanagan.

Federal maintenance dredging in the harbor hasn’t taken place since 1995, creating difficult conditions for recreational and commercial boaters.

No dredging of any type has happened since 2002.

Public comment on the project will be accepted until January 18.

Congressman Bill Keating secured $150,000 in federal funding to support the dredging project earlier this year.

“The dredging of Wellfleet Harbor is key to the economic viability of the Town of Wellfleet and all of the communities on the Outer Cape who utilize its harbor,” Keating previously said.

“It is also a complicated and multi-year project. These funds are necessary for the Army Corps of Engineers coordinate and implement this project effectively. I know Representative Peake and Senator Cyr are continuing to fight for funding for the dredging of the anchorage, for which the Commonwealth is responsible. I appreciate the cooperation of the Corps in recognizing the importance of this project.”

Wellfleet selectmen approved the work last year.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

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