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Congressman says Oak Orchard dredging money will be available in 2014

Posted 16 April 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – The lighthouse at Oak Orchard Harbor stands near a port that hasn’t been dredged in nearly 10 years.

Press release

CARLTON – The Oak Orchard Harbor, a port on Lake Ontario that is critical to Orleans County’s $12 million annual fishing industry, will finally be dredged in 2014, U.S. Rep. Chris Collins announced.

The harbor hasn’t been dredged since 2004, and some boats were grounded last year in shallow parts of the channel. County officials have been pressing for several years for federal funds to be released to remove sediment from the harbor.

Collins said the Oak Orchard, Olcott and Wilson harbors will all be dredged next year. The Army Corps of Engineers has the money lined up for the harbor work.

“The dredging of these three local harbors is long overdue,” Collins said. “Local residents and government leaders have been pushing the federal government to prioritize the work in order to maintain and maximize the harbors’ economic and recreational importance.These waterways are not only used for summer boating and recreation, but play a critical role in supporting the regional economy through the charter fishing industry.”

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers:

Oak Orchard Harbor in the town of Carlton was last dredged in 2004 when 10,700 cubic yards of material was removed.This harbor should be dredged every three to five years.In order to maintain adequate channel depth, 18,000 cubic yards of dredging will be required.The total sediment backlog is estimated at approximately 35,000 cubic yards.

Olcott Harbor in the village of Olcott was last dredged in 1997 when 9,900 cubic yards was removed.This harbor should be dredged every five to ten years.The current sediment backlog is estimated at approximately 55,000 cubic yards.

Wilson Harbor in the town of Wilson was last dredged in 2000 when 5,100 cubic yards was removed.This harbor should be dredged every three to five years.The current sediment backlog is estimated at approximately 55,000 cubic yards.

Collins is co-sponsoring the Realize America’s Maritime Promise Act or RAMP Act (H.R. 335) which would help ensure the funding is in place for routine maintenance dredging.He said the bipartisan legislation guarantees that the funds collected on imports at ports in the United States is used solely for its intended purposed of dredging and maintaining the nation’s waterways.

Collins also supports continued funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.The inter-agency program helps to protect and preserve the Great Lakes ecosystem.The Great Lakes are the source of drinking water for 30 million Americans, and hold 95 percent of our nation’s supply of fresh water. Collins’ congressional district is bordered by Lake Erie to the west and Lake Ontario to the north.