TIM GANNON PHOTO
Specially approved dredging of Wading River Creek took less than a week to complete. The rare summertime work was authorized because spring storms had completely refilled areas that had been dredged last December.
That was quick!
The dredging of Wading River Creek was completed Friday, just four days after it began, and the sand excavated from the channel during the project has been placed along the beach to the east of the creek to shore up areas that have been hit by erosion in the past.
The town had until July 31 to finish the dredging under the conditions of the permit issued by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which allowed the rare July dredging because heavy storms in March had filled in much of the dredging that was done in December.
The federal government is paying 75 percent of the project’s $100,000 cost of the project, with the town and state each paying $12,500.
Normally, the creek can be dredged only in December or early January. Between Jan. 15 and May 15, and again between June 1 and Sept. 30, dredging is normally prohibited to protect winter flounder. It is also prohibited from April 1 to Aug. 31 to protect breeding plovers, an endangered species.
Officials said the creek was all but unnavigable this summer, and presented a safety hazard because the Wading River Fire Department could not launch its rescue boat from the creek.
“In this case, the pressing need to improve safety is the more important consideration,” said DEC spokesman Bill Fonda.
The actual creek dredging was completed by Friday and the additional work, including placing the sand on the beach and surveying the work, was all done by Tuesday, according to assistant town engineer Christine Fetten.