U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer yesterday announced the FY16 Omnibus Appropriations bill, expected to pass Congress this week, will allocate $2.32 million in federal funding to dredge the Port of Rochester’s Harbor next year.
This funding had been requested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its Fiscal Year 2016 Civil Works Budget.
In March, Schumer wrote to urge federal appropriators to allocate the $2.32 million in the annual FY16 appropriations bill.
Dredging will enable the harbor to continue serving as a vital passageway for the City of Rochester, which greatly relies on a clear harbor to generate nearly $10 million annually in recreational benefits and support more than 140 local jobs.
Schumer said that keeping the port dredged is also critical for public safety, as the Rochester Harbor is a designated Critical Harbor of Refuge for Great Lakes vessels and the base of operations for the U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester.
According to the Corps, if the harbor is not dredged, there would be a reduction of the bulk commodities that pass through the harbor that generate an annual $1.2 million in direct commercial revenue and support 95 direct, indirect, and induced commercial harbor jobs that produce over $6.2 million per year in personal income for residents.
The dredging will also support the opening of the new public Marina at the Port of Rochester. In 2011, Schumer helped secure a $1.45 million federal Department of Interior Boating Infrastructure Grant which was the final funding piece needed to fund the construction of the new City of Rochester Marina in Charlotte at the mouth of the Genesee River on Lake Ontario.
Approximately 220,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged every two years from the harbor for it to keep pace. Superstorm Sandy supplemental funding supported the dredging of approximately 200,000 cubic yards of material from storm-impacted harbor areas in summer 2014, however, the harbor was last routinely dredged in 2009.