Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) is announcing that the long awaited dredging of three Lake Ontario harbors is on track to happen next year. Collins says the Army Corp of Engineers now has the funding it needs to perform maintenance dredging in Oak Orchard, Olcott and Wilson harbors. Dredging removes built-up sediment that, over time, narrows a harbor's channel dimensions and creates unsafe navigation conditions for both commercial and recreational boating.
"The dredging of these three local harbors is long overdue," said Collins. "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. As a new member of Congress, I will push to make sure this long delayed work finally happens in the summer of 2014."
According to the US Army Corps of Engineers:
* Oak Orchard Harbor (Town of Carlton, Orleans County) was last dredged in 2004 when 10,700 cubic yards (CY) of material was removed. This harbor should be dredged every three to five years. In order to maintain adequate channel depth, 18,000 CY of dredging will be required. The total sediment backlog is estimated at approximately 35,000 CY.
* Olcott Harbor (Village of Olcott, Niagara County) was last dredged in 1997 when 9,900 cubic yards (CY) of material was removed. This harbor should be dredged every five to ten years. The current sediment backlog is estimated at approximately 55,000 CY.
* Wilson Harbor (Town of Wilson, Niagara County) was last dredged in 2000 when 5,100 cubic yards (CY) of material was removed. This harbor should be dredged every three to five years. The current sediment backlog is estimated at approximately 55,000 CY.
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. This 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.
State Senator George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) said, "I represent more than 50 miles of Lake Ontario shoreline and can attest that the state of our harbors has been a significant concern for many years. Finding federal dollars to dredge our key harbors for improved boater access has been a critical need for our waterfront communities. I commend Congressman Collins for his attention to the problem and his progress in securing the necessary funding resources."
Congressman Collins is also supporting 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.