Posted October 11, 2018
The emergency dredge of the Moriches Inlet has officially begun.
Rep. Lee Zeldin was joined by the Army Corps New York District Commander Colonel Thomas Asbery, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine, State Senator Ken LaValle, State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Suffolk County Legislator Rudy Sunderman, Brookhaven Councilman Dan Panico, Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore, Westhampton Beach Trustees Brian Tymann and Ralph Urban, fishermen, boaters and maritime business owners at the United States Coast Guard Station in East Moriches to announce the kick off.
At the event, Zeldin, Col. Asbery, and Armwood, representing U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, boarded the CR McCaskill, the dredging vessel currently situated in the Moriches Inlet to complete the dredging work.
According to Zeldin, the work involves the dredging and removal of an estimated 158,000 cubic yards of sand, which is being beneficially reused five miles west of Moriches Inlet to provide additional coastal storm risk reduction measures for Smith Point County Park. Work is currently underway
and scheduled for completion by Nov. 1, he said.
The emergency dredging is being done to restore Moriches Inlet to its federally authorized depth of 10' deep and 200' wide; the project uses a cutter suction dredge and 30,000 linear feet of submerged pipeline that will transfer up to 12,000 cubic yards of sand a day, five miles to Smith Point County Park where bulldozers will appropriately shape the sand to provide additional coastal storm risk reduction measures, Zeldin said.
In March, Zeldin was joined by local elected officials, small businesses, boaters and fishermen in calling for an emergency dredgeof Moriches Inlet after winter storms "pummeled" the area.
Next, in April, Zeldin worked with Col. Asbery to receive an emergency declaration
from the Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division Brigadier General William Graham, granting Rep. Zeldin's request to perform emergency dredging of the Moriches Inlet. The emergency declaration allowed for the process of coordinating funding and permits so dredging vessels could begin work.
In June, Zeldin secured $12.25 million in federal funding to complete the emergency dredge, and in July, the contract was awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers to Weeks Marine to complete the work. Finally, in August, an additional $3 million was secured to also dredge the Long Island Intracoastal Waterway.
"The official start of the Moriches Inlet Emergency Dredge is great news for our coastal economy, commercial and recreational fishermen and all whose livelihoods rely on the vitality of our communities' waterways," Zeldin said. "Thank you to Colonel Asbery and his amazing team for their hard work and cooperation along the way. It was a great, added highlight to be able to board the CR McCaskill to see the operation first-hand and thank the crew for their hard work delivering for our local community."
Locals who depend upon the waterway for their livelihood were thrilled. "I just want to thank Congressman Zeldin for his efforts in coordinating the emergency dredging project in Moriches Inlet, and bay," said Joe Tangel, owner of King Cod Fishing in Center Moriches. "It is a great relief for boaters and fishermen in the area to know that something will finally be done to ensure our safety and economic viability."