Residents at the March annual Town Meeting will be asked to approve $80,000 for the town’s share of dredging Duxbury Harbor. On Monday, selectmen voted unanimously to recommend approval to spend these funds, which will come from the free cash account.
In the 16 years since it was last dredged, Duxbury Harbor and its channel have become shallower, filled in by sand and silt from storms and shoaling. The harbor is on the government’s list to be dredged and since it is a federally authorized anchorage, it is eligible for federal and state funding for dredging. The project’s cost is estimated at $3.5 million.
However, the federal dredging project does not extend to the shoreline near the town pier and boat launch, so the town must pay to dredge these areas. It is more economical to use the federal dredging contractor, so the town wants to have the money available when the project begins.
The town has filed the necessary permits for dredging with the federal government. The dredging is authorized by the Army Corp of Engineers and is dependent upon federal funding. Currently, no start date has been established. However, selectmen feel it is important to have the funding approved for the town’s share of the dredging whenever the project moves forward.
The channel would be dredged 100 feet wide and eight feet deep at mean low water. The total 21–acre anchorage area that provides moorings for approximately 2,000 boats would also be dredged to eight feet deep. Approximately 135,000 cubic yards of sand and silt would be removed to restore the area to its government-authorized dimensions. The dredging work will take three to four months to complete.
Five other organizations have also signed up to have their areas dredged when the harbor is being done. They include the Duxbury Yacht Club, Bayside Marine, Long Point Marine, Batelle Memorial Institute, and the Duxbury Bay Maritime School. The harbor was last dredged in 1996 when about 250,000 cubic yards of material were removed and placed in open water in Cape Cod bay. Before that it was dredged in 1978.