Posted July 2, 2019
BOURNE – A new Barnstable County dredge is scheduled to arrive and go into operation by October.
Earlier this month, county commissioners awarded a $1.24 million contract to Ellicott Dredges of Baltimore to purchase the dredge.
The new excavator will be more similar to the Cod Fish, a dredge the county has used for more than 20 years, than the more advanced Sand Shifter, a dredge bought in 2017, said Assistant County Administrator Stephen Tebo.
“We found that a simpler version was more expedient on Cape Cod than the more complex dredge that we ordered three years ago,” said Barnstable County Administrator Jack Yunits.
Numerous breakdowns of the Sand Shifter caused some of the setbacks to the county’s dredging schedule.
In Mashpee, the Cod Fish had to be deployed to Popponesset Bay rather than the Sand Shifter, which was originally planned.
The new dredge is expected to help maintain the busy schedule of dredging work taking place on the Cape each year.
Ellicott Dredges is the same company that supplied the county with the Sand shifter.
Despite holdups with the delivery and functionality of the Shifter in 2017, Tebo said that the county has no hesitation working with the Ellicott and that the two have a good working relationship.
The yearly dredging schedule is subject to time-of-year restrictions, which are in place to minimize environmental impact of dredging on species such as piping plovers.
Dredging operations also can come to a halt in the summer for other reasons.
“Nobody wants a dredge on their beach for obvious reasons,” said Tebo.
The new dredge will be able to handle 3,000 feet of pipelines, an amount comparable to that which the Codfish can handle, but half of the 6,000 feet of pipeline which the Sand Shifter can handle, according to Tebo.
The county’s goal is have three fully operation dredges ready to go at any time, “Between the Mass-works program and rising waters the demand for dredge work on Cape Cod is always increasing,” continued Yunits.
“Our dream would be to have all three dredges running, our hope is that we have at least two dependable dredges.”
While the Codfish is not expected to be in use all the time, it will still play an important role in keeping Cape Cod’s harbors open.