Notes for Today’s meeting at Town Hall.
6 scow loads of spoil left the harbor last week. To date 24 loads for a total of 14,400 cubic yards of spoil have left the harbor.
Plans are to start dredging Allen Harbor Marine portions next week providing the Yacht Club soundings come back positive that the job is done there.
Bad weather the rest of this week will probably preclude any dredging this week. Next week we are expecting the county dredge to mobilize to begin the mooring field. This necessitates us moving our docks to another place in the harbor preferably up the creek so not to interfere with the dredging.
The Yacht Club docks will be put back in place next week, but not hooked up. Our extension for the dredge permit goes in at the end of the year hoping to extend at least to the middle of February. The spoil from the county dredge will be placed on Earle Road and Pleasant Street beach parking lots to de-water before being hauled away to the old Harwich Landfill.
Craig LeBlanc attended a Monday morning dredge progress meeting at Town Hall today and got caught up on the following details.
One half scow load left between the channel and Yacht Club. The Yacht Club has approximately 5 more scows to finish their project. Then a survey will be done to make sure the job is up to specifications. Then the Robert B. Our Company can move back the docks and replace the pilings. After all this we head toward Allen Harbor Marine to begin taking out 33 scow loads. Work was a bit slow last week as the Patrick Hunt, one of the tugs had steering troubles and was not in service over the weekend. Today one scow is expected to return to the harbor and one loaded scow is tied up at the entrance of the canal due to heavy sea conditions in Cape Cod Bay. Several small squall lines are expected to go through the area today.
Bad news received from the Army Corps of Engineers that they have categorically denied the request to dump the spoil in Cape Cod Bay due to a high PH level of the mud We are filing with the Department of Environmental Protection on December 21st a request to add additional time to the January 15th cutoff date so that the project can be finished this fall/winter. Informally it looks like we may get a month but not the 6 weeks we asked for. We have receive word that the county dredge “Codfish” is ready to start dredging the southwest corner of the harbor “mooring field” after January 1st with the sandy spoil being pumped up on to the beach at Earle Road for drainage and later for disposal at the landfill. This probably means we will have to move our docks one more time. The question is where to move them. By that time the Yacht Club docks will be back in their home position. It is hoped that good weather and an extension of the deadline will allow us to get the Allen Harbor Marine portion finished leaving only the channel entrance area to be done in late May.
Craig LeBlanc attended a meeting Monday along with the Town, Yacht Club, Engineering Firm and Dredge Captain. Several plans have to change if the dredging project is to finish this Fall/Winter. We are going on record with Congressman Keating’s office, the DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers requesting the following: a waiver of the January 15th cutoff date for dredging and asking for February 28th as the cutoff date. We are also seeking a change of dumping site to Cape Cod Bay instead of MA Bay which will greatly lessen the turnaround time for the scows. The Town has hired a Marine Biologist to look further into the sex life of the Winter Fluke. Here is a piece of trivia for you; it seems Fluke get really hot when the water temperature goes to 33 degrees. That makes them come into the harbor and lay their eggs. Monitoring this water temperature may become a factor in the grant of the extension. Some other facts and figures for you; There are 11 scows loaded full of material to be removed from the Yacht Club area and 23 scows loaded full to be removed from the Allen Harbor Marine area. To date since October 22nd 13 scows have been loaded and taken to the dump site. Doing the math it is very clear why we need the extension. Now you can track the scows and tugs on the internet. Simply go to www.marinetraffic.com and zoom in on the Cape. The two tugs you’re looking for will be bluish-green in color and will have the names Patrick Hunt and Volans. Sometimes they go through the canal and sometimes they go the backside up off Nauset to get to their destination halfway between Boston and Provincetown.
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.
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.
Post Sandy assessment.
We faired remarkable well during Hurricane Sandy. Crews worked Saturday, Sunday and Monday preparing for the worst but thankfully we got 2 levels below that. We did get gusts of nearly 70mph and lost a few shingles but that appears to be the only damage. All boats on the land came through fine. Craig and the crew hauled all but one boat on Sunday. The tide surge was not nearly as bad as they had predicted. We picked up everything off the floor in the lower building, the Service Department and Marine Store, but the water only licked at the back door and did not come in.
Both the Yacht Club and the Allen Harbor Marine floats anchored in the mooring field survived with no damage. The dredge and its fully loaded scow were adequately tied down and anchored and suffered no damage according to Craig Burnham of Burnham and Associates in an email to the Town Administrator. Burnham noted that the dredging operation would resume as soon as the sea state allowed offshore to move the scow safely. He expected this to be Thursday or Friday of this week.
Our regular jobs of winterization and shrink wrapping continues today with a full crew in attendance.