John Rie, the Chairman of the Westbrook Harbor Commission, highlights the important role that teamwork played in Joe’s efforts to secure key dredging work for Westbrook’s Patchogue River. Joe worked with federal, state and local officials to get this long-stalled project moving.
Mr. Rie writes:
The long-awaited dredging of the Patchogue River entrance channel is almost completed. The completion of the project is the result of teamwork and cooperation among members of the local government, state government, and federal government of both political parties.
The Westbrook Harbor Commission, Board of Selectmen, and Board of Finance could not have been more helpful in getting their jobs done and, best of all, they all left their political affiliations at the door and worked together, in contrast to our representatives in D.C. Our state representatives and senator of both parties worked together, as did Congressman Joe Courtney’s office, to get the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in to dredge both our channel and Clinton’s entrance channel.
Thanks to Joe’s efforts, waterways in Westbrook and Clinton will be dredged over the next few weeks in order to ensure that recreational and commercial boaters can continue to access the harbors. Over the last several weeks, he’s worked with federal, state and local officials to schedule a visit by the “Currituck,” a dredging ship operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The Hartford Courant reports:
Dredging of the town’s Pachaug River channel began last Friday and is expected to be completed within 10 or 12 days. The work, which is being done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, includes the removal of about 10,000 cubic yards of silt from the channel.
The town received about $700,000 in federal funds for the project in 2008, First Selectman Noel Bishop said, noting how important the channel is to marinas and the town.
“The economy of Westbrook is very dependent on having that channel open,” said Bishop this week, adding that the planning of the project has been a collaborative effort among, among others, representatives from the office of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, state Sen. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, state Rep. Brian O’Connor, the DEP, the Army Corps, employees of the town’s harbor district and with Willie Fritz, Clinton’s first selectman.
“When the Army Corps is done with us, they are going to go over and dredge Clinton’s harbor,” Bishop said. “All of the above groups and individuals — we have had hours and hours of discussions, everyone was involved in making this happen.”
The New London Day highlighted the importance of Joe’s work to get these projects moving:
Confirming the hopes of town officials, Congressman Joe Courtney’s office announced last week that the Currituck dredge owned by the Army Corps of Engineers would begin dredging projects in the Westbrook and Clinton harbors this week. This low-cost solution was made possible by a recent state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ruling approving the harbors’ dredge material as clean enough to replenish the beach at Hammonasset Beach State Park.
Years of delay and inadequate federal funding to support dredging projects have left the long-planned, $1.4 million dredging project to dredge the Patchogue River harbor and entrance channel undone. Years of waiting has allowed the harbor and its entrance channel to accumulate material, leading to shoaling and shallower channels and anchorages. With shallower waters, bigger boats that used to moor in Westbrook moved to other, deeper harbors. This month’s dredging project will begin to reverse this trend.