Posted on April 10, 2023
Greenwich Harbor is set to undergo much-needed dredging, thanks to a $500,000 federal grant awarded for the fiscal year 2023. First Selectman Fred Camillo announced the grant at a chilly gathering by the ferry landing in Greenwich Harbor with Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Jim Himes as well as Selectwoman Lauren Rabin.
Camillo welcomed everyone, expressing gratitude for the federal delegation’s efforts in securing the grant saying, “Greenwich is blessed with shoreline and many islands, and the water here is something that our residents use a lot and they cherish on a regular basis.” He thanked Senator Blumenthal and Congressman Himes for their efforts in securing the grant as well as Rabin for her ongoing support.
Greenwich Harbor, with its rich history dating back more than a century, has long been a cherished resource for residents and visitors. However, sedimentation has become a serious issue, with some areas now only reaching a depth of seven feet at low tide, rendering parts of the harbor nearly unnavigable. The federal channel is supposed to have a depth of 13 feet.
The dredging project will not only bene t recreational boaters and kayakers but will also have a positive impact on commercial use and public safety, as it will facilitate better access to slips and ensure the safe passage of vessels in and out of the harbor.
Although the $500,000 grant is only a small portion of the total cost of the multimillion-dollar project, it is an important step in the right direction. In addition to the federal grant, the town of Greenwich has set aside $2 million for the project, demonstrating a strong partnership between federal and local governments.
The grant marks the beginning of a joint effort by the town of Greenwich, the state of Connecticut, and the federal government.
US Congressman Jim Himes emphasized the importance of dredging not only for recreational use but also for commercial use and public safety. The grant is a down payment on the multimillion-dollar project, and Himes reiterated the commitment to complete the project through a partnership between federal and municipal levels.
Congressman Himes emphasized the importance of the dredging project not just for recreational use but also for the harbor’s commercial operations and public safety. He said, “We’re about to start boating season. That’s going to be really critical. So this is a great project, and we’ve got a nice $500,000 down payment on that project.”
US Senator Richard Blumenthal emphasized the dredging issue’s significance, involving public safety, commercial vessels, and recreational use. The dredging project will allow Greenwich to lead the way in demonstrating how to test sediment, remove it, and deposit it safely, catering to both environmental and recreational interests explaining that at low tide, boats have only seven feet around Grassy Island, making navigation di cult.
The sediment testing will be crucial for unlocking further funding from sources such as the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as ensuring the sediment can be deposited safely without causing harm to the environment. The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will also play a significant role in determining where the sediment can go.
The initial phase of the project will involve testing the sediment to determine whether it can be deposited safely, which is crucial for unlocking additional funding. Senator Blumenthal noted, “Testing of sediment enables us to say to the state of Connecticut and New York, this sediment can be deposited safely. Whatever the site is, we want to make sure that we’re not doing harm to the environment. First, do no harm.”
The dredging will commence once the sediment is tested to determine whether it is safe for marine or upland deposit. This is crucial, as it will unlock additional funds and ensure the dredging is carried out in an environmentally responsible manner. The project is expected to begin later this summer, following the passing of the budget.
This collaboration between local, state, and federal officials underscores the importance of working together to address complex environmental issues. The dredging of Greenwich Harbor will not only enhance the area’s economic and recreational potential but also serve as an example for other coastal communities grappling with similar sediment buildup issues.
While there is no current estimate of when the dredging might be completed, it is clear that this project will take time and collaboration between local, state, and federal authorities to ensure success.