Long-awaited harbor dredging could start later this week

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – A boater approaches the break wall at Oak Orchard Harbor in this photo taken last month.

CARLTON – The wait will soon be over, and boaters can expect a smoother ride through the Oak Orchard Harbor.

The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to be at the harbor later this week to begin dredging the mouth of the Oak Orchard River. That last happened in 2004.

Since then the harbor has a buildup of silt and sediment. Some boats sometimes are grounded in shallow parts of the channel.

The Army Corps will work on the Oak Orchard once it’s done with Irondequoit Bay, said Mike Waterhouse, Orleans County’s sportsfishing coordinator. He received notification from the Army Corps that the work should start in the Oak Orchard later this week.

The harbor is critical to the county’s $12 million annual fishing industry, as well as for other recreational purposes.

The Oak Orchard Harbor was last dredged in 2004 when 10,700 cubic yards of material was removed. This harbor should be dredged every three to five years, according to county officials. 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, according to information from Congressman Chris Collins’ office.