Officials with Helena-West Helena, Ark., announced recently that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Memphis District, will fund dredging of Helena Harbor for the first time since 2015.
“The Corps recently received supplemental funding from Congress and they have allotted $500,000 of that funding to dredge our harbor,” Helena-West Helena Mayor, Jay Hollowell, said.
Under legislation approved by Congress in early December 2016, the Corps received just over a billion dollars for “necessary expenses to address emergency situations at the Corps projects, and to rehabilitate and repair damages to USACE projects, caused by natural disasters.”
The Corps officials designated the harbor as in need of rehabilitation and repair due to flooding that took place beginning in December 2015 through January 2016. The flood left a large amount of silt in the harbor, thus limiting its ability to function.
The $500,000 will used to restore the mouth of the harbor and a portion of the navigation channel to the authorized dimensions. The Corps has already awarded a rental contract for a 24-inch diameter cutter head dredge to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Oak Brook, Ill., for the 2017 dredging season.
Additionally, the Corps will provide hydrographic surveys to the Mayor of Helena-West Helena to show the pre-dredge condition of the navigation channel. USACE officials said that they expect dredging at the harbor to begin in late summer to early fall of 2017 and last for approximately seven days.