Suffolk County began work this week on a long-awaited dredging of Accabonac Harbor. The county, which began the work on Friday, plans to wrap up the nearly $1.15 million project within a narrow window that ends on Tuesday, January 15, according to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.
The dredge arrived at the harbor on January 2 and began operating two days later, Mr. Schneiderman said. The project will produce 25,000 cubic yards of sand, which will be deposited on Louse Point Beach, on the east side of the inlet, he said.
The Accabonac Harbor dredging project is one in a series the county has funded and completed over the past year or so. The county completed a $1 million dredging of Three Mile Harbor and a smaller dredging of Northwest Creek was just finished, Mr. Schneiderman said.
Accabonac Harbor was last dredged sometime in the 1990s, estimated Diane McNally, the Clerk of the East Hampton Town Trustees. It has lately become a problem for baymen who work in the waters and have been forced to “time their work schedule around the tide,” she said.
“If you have a little 20-foot working boat, the draft is going to be between a foot to 18 inches to two feet,” she said. “And these boats are having a hard time on low tide. It’s very shallow. It’s only a few feet on some spots.”
The county’s dredging budget has increased from a meager $1 million at times to $6 million, which is the amount allocated in this year’s budget, Mr. Schneiderman said. The Department of Public Works needs at least $3 million to keep pace with current maintenance projects, he added. Ms. McNally said she hopes the dredging project will keep the harbor in good shape for at least another four or five years.
Ms. McNally expressed gratitude for the county’s support.
“We have not had the county in East Hampton Town for a decade or more, she said. “But this year we have been so fortunate.”
Next on the Town Trustees’s dredging priority list are Napeague Harbor, additional work in Northwest Creek, Georgica Pond, and some smaller areas, such as the backwaters of Three Mile Harbor and Montauk Lake, and some spot dredging in smaller creeks and waterways.
The Accabonac project will place sand back on a beach that was badly battered by Hurricane Sandy, Ms. McNally noted. She also said she hopes the dredge will be beneficial for those who work in the waters of Accabonac Harbor.
“They’ve been waiting for a long time for this project to occur,” she said. “I hope they’re happy, is what I hope.”