Posted February 13, 2020
RYE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved $4 million to complete dredging work — the removal of earth and debris from the bottom of a body of water — at Rye Harbor.
The Army Corps of Engineers approved of the work in its Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan for Operation and Maintenance, which includes nine New Hampshire projects amounting to $11,351,000.
Rye Harbor is the closest harbor to the Isles of Shoals and is used for medical emergencies and evacuations from the islands. It is also a major economic contributor to the Seacoast town, supporting more than 180 commercial and recreational vessels as well as whale watching and sightseeing tour boats.
Rye Harbor has problems with shoaling, which is when water becomes more shallow. This affects fishing vessels and sightseeing tour boats. Town officials say the harbor is 10 years overdue for dredging.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, both D-N.H., said on Tuesday that they are relieved and grateful that the project was included in the Army Corps budget.
“I’m very relieved the Corps heeded our calls to prioritize this project and I’m excited to share this news with our fishermen and lobstermen that help is on the way,” Shaheen said in a statement.
Shaheen, who helped secure $4.6 million for much-needed dredging at nearby Hampton Harbor, said she will urge officials to complete the work in a timely manner.
In a statement, Hassan said that she will keep working with the New Hampshire congressional delegation to ensure the project is completed in a timely manner.
“Rye Harbor is an important economic driver for the Seacoast economy, and this dredging project is desperately needed to keep the harbor functional,” Hassan said in a statement.
Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH, agreed, saying the state’s harbors are vital to the economy and “this funding to move forward with dredging in Rye is an important step to address safety concerns and ensure the harbor’s functionality.”
The Army Corps of Engineers delivered its work plan to Congress on Monday.