Gresko Asks DEEP To Save Dredging Grant

August 24, 2016

Representative Joe Gresko joined his legislative colleagues in urging the state Department of Energy and Environment to execute a five-year memorandum of understanding as soon as possible with the Connecticut Audubon Society to save a $10 million grant for dredging that is in jeopardy.

The memorandum is an agreement for monitoring the piping plover population near the mouth of the Housatonic River and is necessary for securing the grant, which is critical for the dredging of Stratford’s port on the river.

The grant would be used for creating an 18-foot, by 200-foot deep harbor in Stratford. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requiring a signed memorandum before it will allow dredging. If it is not signed by the end of October, the $10 million would be lost.

“The dredging project is vitally important not only for Stratford, but also for all of Connecticut,” Rep. Gresko said. “Keeping the Housatonic River navigable is critical to the long-term success of our state. Connecticut must demonstrate its commitment to our future.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers called for dredging in the Housatonic in Stratford and Milford because of low water depth, the result of years of the natural shoaling process, and storm events. Sand is now clogging the main channel of the river rendering it only five-foot deep in some areas, and the Army Corps has proposed removing up to 300,000 cubic yards of sandy material to allow for proper passage of vessels.

The proposed work is scheduled for Oct. 1 to February 2017. The material to be dredged has been tested for contaminants, and has been deemed suitable to deposit at Hammonasset Beach.