Wellfleet Officials: Need to Dredge Town’s Harbor Now Critical

Wellfleet Harbor nearly inaccessible at low tide

Wellfleet Harbor nearly inaccessible at low tide

WELLFLEET – The need to dredge Wellfleet Harbor has become critical and Tuesday night town officials updated residents on the project’s progress.

The harbor is the engine that drives the town’s economy and due to silt build up since the last dredging project in 2001, business, particularly the $5 million a year shellfish and aquaculture industry has suffered.

A 2012 study estimated the cost to dredge the harbor at $12 million, however continued build up will likely drive up that estimate.

State Representative Sarah Peake and Cape and Islands State Senator Dan Wolf are working to secure state funding,

Peake said state assistance is critical.

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Wellfleet residents attend public forum on harbor dredging

Wellfleet residents attend a public forum on harbor dredging.

“I would see it being a state-local share. Anything we can get from the state helps relieve the burden on the taxpayers in Wellfleet and certainly the argument can be made that the whole state benefits from a vital Wellfleet Harbor,” said Peake.

But due to the permitting process, environmental concerns and necessary pre-project studies, town officials said dredging will begin late next year−at the earliest.

Wellfleet Harbormaster Michael Flanagan said safety is also becoming an issue.

“If someone were to have an issue out on Billingsgate, the only way to get there is by boat, so that if we can’t respond . . . that could mean life or death,” he said.

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