USA: Senator Supports Little Sodus Bay Dredging

Senator Supports Little Sodus Bay Dredging

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is reviewing four New York Harbors to determine if they require dredging due to sediment damage from Superstorm Sandy, including Little Sodus Bay in Cayuga County.

Schumer is urging the USACE to expedite the review of Little Sodus Bay in Cayuga County in light of its much-needed dredging and maintenance. If USACE officials find damage from Sandy in the waterways currently under review, federal money from the Sandy supplemental fund could be used to pay for the dredging efforts. Schumer noted the Sandy supplemental fund is a finite allotment, and the sooner the USACE completes their review, the easier these projects can access that funding. Currently, the USACE is reviewing Little Sodus Bay, and Oak Orchard, Olcott, and Wilson Harbors for sediment damage. The USACE has already determined that the Port of Rochester and Irondquoit Bay require such dredging, and will begin work in 2014.

Superstorm Sandy deposited sediments in many New York harbors as it tore across the state, making some harbors and channels too shallow for larger boats. Compounding the problem is the fact that many of these harbors have not been dredged in over a decade. Schumer argued that if these harbors and waterways do not receive the necessary maintenance, they may become impassable for large fishing and tourist vessels. Schumer noted that this was a clear and serious threat to the fishing, shipping and water-related tourism industries in Cayuga, Monroe, Orleans, and Niagara Counties—the locations of the four harbors the USACE has under review.

“If damage from Sandy is found in Little Sodus Bay in Cayuga County, the Army Corp of Engineers should move swiftly on a long-overdue dredging. I urge them to complete their review and move forward on repairs, if necessary,” said Schumer. “Our New York harbors and waterways must be kept in ship shape so tourists can keep coming to New York shops and marinas, our fisherman can operate their business unimpeded, and we keep our economy moving at a fast clip.

Little Sodus Bay is in the northernmost point of Cayuga County, which abuts the village of Fair Haven, a small village that surrounds Little Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario. There are marinas, tourist shops, on-water restaurants, beaches and other seasonal businesses that rely on the bay as their main or only source of income. The last time the channel entering into the bay from the lake was dredged was 2005. Customarily, Little Sodus Bay was dredged every five years. Now, the Bay has not been dredged in 8 years and there has been a decline in boat traffic from larger vessels and tourists sailing from Canada. According to local boaters, the channel is not deep enough to handle larger vessels. If the channel gets any narrower, even larger fishing boats may have trouble navigating the waterway.

Already the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has found sediment deposits from Sandy in Irondequoit Bay and the Port of Rochester and will begin dredging in 2014. The Port of Rochester imports $2 million worth of goods every year, and since 2008, 97,000 tons of material has been shipped or received through the Rochester Harbor. Schumer noted that the Army Corp of Engineers should take action as swiftly with the harbor at Little Sodus Bay in order to ensure economic activity can continue without disruption.

[mappress]

Press Release, May 15, 2013

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