The Seabrook Board of Selectmen at their March 6 meeting formally voted to sign on to a letter to Senator Jeanne Shaheen asking for support for federal funding for the Seabrook Harbor dredging project.
New Hampshire’s Hampton/Seabrook Harbor is in desperate need of maintenance dredging, the letter said. While the need is most urgent on the Seabrook side, the entire harbor is seriously impaired.
“If we are unable to dredge the harbor in the very near future there it is in real danger of becoming unusable. This will result in the loss of hundreds of jobs to the area including the ancillary businesses,” the letter stated.
“It is imperative that this process is begun as soon as possible as it will take time for environmental testing and project engineering.”
The letter is addressed to U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, with copies to Senator Maggie Hassan and U.S. Representatives Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster.
In 2013, the New Hampshire Division of Ports and Harbors (DPH) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arranged for the dredging of Hampton/Seabrook Harbor.
The dredge was completed in March 2013.
In 2015, DPH observed that the conditions in the harbor were deteriorating due to severe shoaling. DPH Director, Geno Marconi, made contact with USACE representatives to report the conditions in the harbor which prompted them to conduct a dredge survey.
The survey conducted in October of 2015 confirmed that significant shoaling was occurring in the harbor.
Representatives of USACE said that they do not have the funds available to support a maintenance dredge in the area and cannot predict when funding will be available.
During the 2012/2013 dredge window, 168.000 cubic yards of clean sand was removed from this area at a cost of $3.2 million.