Addressing serious concerns about NH’s waterways

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan issued the following statements after the House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2020, biennial legislation that authorizes water infrastructure projects around the country.

WRDA contains several New Hampshire priorities Shaheen and Hassan helped secure that would:

  • Direct the Secretary of the Army to provide a status update on the completion of the Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Improvement Project after the WRDA of 2018 included specific language urging the Corps to expedite the project;
  • Expedite authorized activities to address shoaling impacts at Rye Harbor, the dredging of which is currently underway; and
  • Extend the use of the Cape Arundel Disposal Site, which has long been a site for the placement of dredged materials from the harbors of New Hampshire and Maine, to ensure continuation of a regional disposal site for dredging projects.

“This legislation includes important provisions that will address serious concerns about New Hampshire’s waterways,” said Senator Shaheen.

“The prioritization and completion of these navigation improvement projects is necessary to protect Granite State fishermen, as well as strengthen the safety and economic vitality of our coastal communities and businesses that rely on these critical waterways.

“I’m pleased by the bipartisan support that allowed the Water Resources Development Act to pass the House and urge the Senate to swiftly follow suit.”

“New Hampshire’s coastal communities and our commerce depend on clear and safe passage through our waterways. We must continue efforts to keep them safe for navigation and in turn, support our Seacoast industries and fishermen,” Senator Hassan added.

“I am glad that this bipartisan legislation includes critical improvement projects for New Hampshire, including measures that prioritize and expedite dredging projects on our Seacoast.

“I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important, bipartisan legislation without delay so that we can send it to the President’s desk for a signature.”

The Portsmouth Harbor and Piscataqua River Navigation Improvement Project would widen the uppermost turning basin of the Piscataqua River from 800 feet to 1,200 feet, which would improve navigation safety.

Due to its current narrow width, vessels navigating the river – including liquefied petroleum gas tankers and other bulk shippers – face significant safety risks and transit restrictions.

Photo: Rye Historical Society - NH