Briggs King addresses dredging issues

July 25, 2013

The 2013 legislative session concluded in the early morning hours of July 1 and, as many of you already know, it was one of the busiest sessions for legislators.  Prior to adjourning, lawmakers approved a $477.1 million Bond Bill, which will fund capital projects throughout the state, and a $44.7 million Grant-in-Aid bill to assist nonprofit agencies in Delaware.

Included in this year's Bond Bill, which I supported, will be nearly $4 million for shoreline and waterway management.  While part of this funding will be used for beach replenishment and other related projects, some of this funding will also be targeted for the dredging of Indian River and Massey's Landing in Long Neck.  For quite a while, boaters, commercial fishermen and recreational waterway users have experienced problems with navigating these heavily-shoaled areas.

Both Massey's Landing and Indian River are federally authorized waterways. However, no federal funding has been allocated for dredging these channels since the 1980s.The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has stepped in over the years to provide the necessary funding for dredging and will again this time.

According to DNREC's Deputy Secretary Dave Small, "In the absence of any movement by the [Army] Corps [of Engineers] to dredge either Indian River or Massey's, we will begin spending funds to lay the groundwork for dredging." He said information will be gathered "in order to go through the state and federal permitting associated with the dredging projects which will include the design, engineering and bid specifications for prospective dredging contractors."

Mr. Small also said that dredging will not occur this year and that it is difficult to predict exactly when the projects will begin. He said the actual start-date will depend on "how much it costs us to get through planning, along with the permitting process and a number of other variables." 
DNREC has assured me that they will continue to update me as the dredging schedule becomes more defined.  As I know more, I will certainly share the information with constituents.

I am happy that the funding commitment to dredge these waterways has been made on DNREC’s part.  Our boating and fishing communities have long been in need of the assistance.

Ruth Briggs King
State Representative, 37th District


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