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Funding Comes Through for Montauk Emergency Dredging

Congressman got the Army Corps to reallocate $1.2 million.

More than$1.2 million in federal funding has been secured for an emergency dredging of Lake Montauk in the fall.

Federal, state, and local officials have been to address the perennial sand build-up in the inlet. Shoaling has prevented commercial fishing boats and a Coast Guard Station Montauk cutter from passing through the channel during low tide. The project, they have said, is imperative to ensure the economic well-being of the area, as well as the safety of fisherman and boaters.

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson credited U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, with sucessfully advocating that the Army Corps of Engineers reallocate money from its 2011 budget, as passed by Congress, to the project. 

When asked, Bishop said it was a tall order. "This was a heavy lift. This was not easy to do. The Army Corps budget has been cut significantly. Not only were they dealing with significantly less money, but they were dealing with a project they didn't think they were going to have to do," he said by phone on Tuesday afternoon.

The emergency project will begin no earlier than late September, Bishop said. He added it will be federally funded, with no money being kicked in locally.

"Montauk commercial fishing port is the busest commercial fishing port in the State of New York," Bishop said. "This also means a lot ot the recreational fishing industry."

Wilkinson agreed. "Once again the channel for ingress and egress for our commercial fisherman won't be threatened," Wilkinson said. "It's important for the viability of the commerical fishing industry as well as the proper viability of that lake."

Commercial fishermen had waited 7 to 12 hours outside the breakwater just to re-enter the harbor, while others have been offloading in Rhode Island and New Jersey instead.

In February, the Army Corps of Engineers of the inlet that showed nearly 20,000 cubic yards of sands needs to be removed. There was evidence that shoaling had accelerated.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., I-Sag Harbor, said the state Legislature has produced a resolution to urge that the dredging project be moved up in light of the winter storms.

Where the dredged sand spoils will go is still a question. Property owners to the west, along Soundview Drive, have been  threatening their waterfront homes. The jetties at the inlet have been blamed for stopping a flow of sand to their beaches.

If the homeowners want the spoils to replenish their lost sand, funding for that will have to come from elsewhere, Bishop said. "By law in emergency dredging, the spoil must be deposited in the nearest available," he said. "That will have to be paid for by some other entity," from the town to the state.

Sandman May 18, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Tim Bishop does it again for the East End. Sure glad we were smart enough to re-elect him. The other guy ...a corporate out-sourcer would have done nothing for our fishing industry....Thanks, Tim!
Cynthia Loewen May 18, 2011 at 08:08 PM
A commercial fisherman Congressman Bishop shows how worthy he is to his constituents. He deserves all the credit for this emergency dredging. Assemblyman Thiele has demonstrated his concern also. It's going to be very interesting to see if the Supervisor can find money to move the sand to the beach in front of his pals houses when he couldn"t find the dollars to fund the EH Town Fisheries Committee. He deserves no credit from fishermen.
lifelong amagansett resident May 18, 2011 at 10:46 PM
"a commercial fisherman" -- who do you think has been calling Bishop and Schumer and Gillenbrad to get the dredging re-prioritized? WILKINSON. Through his trieless efforts to bring big time attention to the entire mess around Montauk Harbor (left to him by the previous Democrat administration) should be applauded. I find it more than interesting that one week after Wilky organizes a summit with Washington reps, reps from the SBA, local businesses, the fishing community, etc., which included a tour of Montauk Harbor and how important the fishing community is to the community and the local economy, we hear that the harbor will be emergency dredged by the Fed. If Wilky did not care then why did he budget six figures in the 2011 town budget (proposed 8 months ago)to do at least some light emergency dredging for Lake Montauk in case the Federal, State and County government crapped out? Just read the papers and look at everything Wilky has done to put Montauk Harbor, the lake and all the related problems on the front burner. "A commercial fisherman" sounds like "a local Democrat".. Too bad because Wilky, by giving Bishop credit, shows the kind of person that is needed to put politics aside to get things done. Oh by the way, when "a local fisherman" refers to Wilky's "pals" is he/she referring to the people on Soundwiew suing the Town and Wilky for the inaction of the previous administration? Some pals.
todd May 19, 2011 at 12:47 AM
The fisheries summit you refer to was instigated by the Feds. Wilky simply answered the phone and said yes. I do give him credit for recognizing Bishop's efforts. Incidentally, I didn't realize the Dems were responsible for the shoaling of Montauk Harbor. Their evil has no end!
Cynthia Loewen May 19, 2011 at 06:32 PM
A commercial fisherman Todd is right. Wilkinson had nothing to do with the economic meeting arranged by Schumer and Gillabrand. That was an effort undertaken by the local fishing industry over a number of months and few wanted him to attend. Wilky was invited by beaurocrats as a courtsy. Again Schumer and Gillabrand arranged the meeting and Bishop got the money for the dredging not Wilky.
lifelong amagansett resident May 20, 2011 at 11:02 PM
You guys have no idea....I challenge you to call Bishop's, Gillebrand's and Scumer's office and ask their staff how many times they have either spoke to or met with Wilkinson over the last 16 months, and what was the number one topic at those meetings. I have been told from certain individuals who know what happened at some of those meetings that the fishing industry was the number one issue Wilkinson asked for help on. My source is impeccable and if any one else tells you different they are liars. Sometimes people like A Commercial Fisherman and todd let their hate get in the way of what is in their own best interests. Its very sad. But seeing how Wilkinson operates he will continue to press for the fishing industry and do what is best for everyone even with some of those in the industry unfairly and inaccurately attack him personally. He is a much, much bigger person than those critics.
todd May 21, 2011 at 12:59 AM
All I did was correct the statement that Wilky initiated the meeting with the Feds. How do you infer "hate" from that?
Len Bernard June 11, 2011 at 01:23 PM
Martin Drew -- Still here after responding to your bogus claims about me. Todd -- I can tell you Wilkinson meet with Schumer's and Gillebrands's people in his own office early on in 2010 and the first issue he put on the table was the fishing industry and actions neede to assist it. I know because I was at the meetings. I was also there when he called Bishop's offcie. I have told people about this in town government so the word is out there and it does not surprise me that town workers who support Wilkinson (and there are many despite what some people say) know it and are willing to get the word out.

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