After much discussion between the Town, the Yacht Club and the dredging company Tuesday afternoon saw two scows arrive for loading. The first was loaded Tuesday afternoon and sailed out of the harbor towards the dumping ground at midnight. The second scow was loaded Wednesday morning and left the harbor at noon with the high tide bound for the dumping ground……Now the waiting begins. It will probably be late Thursday or Friday before the scows get back for re-loading so the dredge now sits idle. The dredge owner is trying to procure a third scow from another company, but the earliest it can rent the scow is December 15th. We are somewhat concerned as the Town Administrator had told the dredge company owner that he wanted to see the Yacht Club and Allen Harbor Marine done first so we could put our docks back in place, but the dredge has been digging at the southern most portion of the harbor near the channel. We are attempting to find out why they are dredging there. For anyone interested in charting the progress the Harbormaster colors in where the dredge has done its work so far on a chart in his office at Saquatucket Harbor. Meanwhile Craig LeBlanc from Allen Harbor Marine anxiously awaits his meeting on Monday at 9am with Town Officials, the Yacht Club and the dredge company representatives.
No action brings reaction…..
The Town, Allen Harbor Yacht Club and Allen Harbor Marine are all disturbed at the slow pace of our dredging operation. At a meeting held today at Town Hall it was learned that since October 22nd when the dredge arrived only 10% of the dredging has been completed. As of today none of the Yacht Club’s or Allen Harbor Marine Service areas have been touched. There have been excuses upon excuses of rough weather, poor visibility and the like for towing the scows, the lack of getting big enough scows in to the harbor to fill with spoil. Meanwhile both the Yacht Club and Allen Harbor Marine docks sit moored out in the mooring field and with colder weather looming ahead now face the prospect of damaging ice. The Harbormaster is keeping close tabs on what has been dredged so far and is keeping Craig LeBlanc informed as to the progress. Also the Town has initiated Monday morning meetings with all interested parties to follow the progress. We are in hopes that dredging can start on Tuesday of this week provided the two scows arrive back from the dumping ground. We are down to one tug boat but are trying to get another tug boat. Everyone concerned it seems is searching for more scows to dump the soil in to, but they are in scarce supply. Ren Nichols and Craig LeBlanc have been in constant touch with the Harbormaster, the Town Administrator and Representatives from the Board of Selectmen to obtain this encouragement to get the progress stepped up by several notches.
If you are concerned about the progress of this project please let your thoughts be known to the Town Administrator (508-430-7513).
Craig has been in touch with Jim Merriam the Town Administrator who passed along what seemed to be good news. Merriam has instructed the dredge operator Burnham Associates to concentrate on Allen Harbor Yacht Club and Allen Harbor Marine locations first and have the other areas wait until those are completed. The dredge operator reported that he thinks he is close to getting a permit to dump in Cape Cod Bay which would greatly reduce travel time for the scows. The engineering firm, Coastal Engineering says there is a possibility of getting a small extension of the January 15th cut off date for the dredging due to the fish spawning. In addition Craig Burnham of Burnham Associates said that offshore sea conditions this time of year have not been good and have precluded the long distant run of the tug towing the scows. If weather holds he has indicated he will put a second tug boat in to operation.
The only progress that can be reported this week with the dredge is that we’re in a holding pattern. Bad weather along the Atlantic coast has hampered the towing of the scows to the dumping site 17 miles off Boston on the edge of Stellwagen Bank. The dredge has sat nearly all week idle and is becoming frustrating to both the Yacht Club and Allen Harbor Marine folks that there isn’t more efficiency and action. It is obvious to the lay men that we need more scows and more tug boats to tow the scows so we don’t lose so much during the lay days due to bad weather. This coming week we are to meet with Town Officials and Coastal Engineering for a complete update on what is or isn’t going on. On the brighter side our docks and floats have had a good going over and repair work to ready them for the summer. This will save considerable time once we put them back into position. May can’t come soon enough.
The dredge is currently working just off the town dock and ramp and afforded Julie Bradley the opportunity to photograph the dredge up close. The dredge is drawing spectators from around town who are watching it in action. They now have 3 scows in operation which offers them more efficiency. They can be loading one scow, one scow can be in route to the dumping ground and one scow can be on its way back. This increases efficiency as long as the weather holds out.
The photos clearly show a large crane and bucket of the dredge, the scow as it is being filled up with mud and draining excess water, the push boat/tug that pushes the dredge around the harbor and the spuds which hold the dredge in place while it’s in operation.
It is a beautiful day with the temperature reaching nearly 70 degrees. A far cry from the 70mph winds we experienced last week. Today’s good weather gives us a chance for Bob LeBlanc to strengthen and repair the entry ramps to both the main and middle docks replacing some timber, eye bolts and chain.
We were visited on Thursday by a Pelican who had apparently lost its way in the storm. We immediately called our shore bird expert Blair Nikula who provided us with a picture and word that due to global warming these birds are seen typically as far north as New Jersey . When last seen Mr. or Mrs. Pelican was heading north over the Lower County Road bridge.