On July 27 Greenwich Harbor Master Ian MacMillan received a carbon copy of a letter sent from the Harbor Management Commission (HMC) dated July 19, 2018 (postmarked July 25, 2018) to “property owner” outlining a proposal to plan a maintenance dredge of Greenwich Harbor Federal Navigation Channel.
The letter says the HMC is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to plan the project.
MacMillan described the project as a “token dredge,” adding that the partial dredge of the harbor will only impact a portion of the channel and would not include what MacMillan calls the hurricane hole.
“It’s a federal harbor of safe refuge, and they’re not touching it with the dredge,” he said.
“There is no point of dredging just the channel if the anchorages are not restored to offer a harbor of refuge,” he continued. “The dredge doesn’t touch the anchorage at all – just the channel. It’s a very limited, token dredge.”
Further, the letter says that to reduce disposal costs of dredge material “unsuitable” for open water disposal, the HMC wants to dredge the channel to just 10 feet.
“The Army Corps of Engineers, when they dredge, they try to do a 1 ft overbite, so a 12 ft channel would be dredged to 13 ft. That way it takes longer to fill in,” MacMillan said.
MacMillan said the project is not well publicized, and the letter asks for feedback on the project by Sept 1.
The harbor master also said residents are away on vacations during, the month they have to provide feedback, and that in August there isn’t even an August HMC meeting.
Third, MacMillan said the HMC’s letter confuses the issue by intimating the harbor is no longer commercial.
The letter says, “The channel, authorized by Congress at a time when the harbor served commercial vessels, was last dredged in 1968, and has an authorized depth of 12 ft at mean low water (MLW).”
“The harbor has been dredged since it became recreational rather than commercial,” MacMillan said.
The Harbor Master, who is an appointee of Governor Malloy and receives no salary but for a $500-a-year stipend, said more facts need to be gathered.
“We need to have a public conversation about the restoration of Greenwich Harbor,” he said.
“No one is here and there’s no detail to the proposal. They’re not saying where they’ll put the dredge material. They’re not giving a timeline and they’re not detailing the costs.” – Ian MacMillan
MacMillan shared photos of wrecked boats in Greenwich Harbor.
“Because the harbor hasn’t been dredged, the boats couldn’t hide in the harbor refuge,” he said. “Without maintaining and restoring the anchorages, there is no safe harbor in Greenwich Harbor.”