Brookhaven Town this week began dredging one of the Duck Ponds in Wading River, but will not dredge the other, according to Councilwoman Jane Bonner.
Brookhaven and Riverhead towns had planned to work cooperatively on the Duck Ponds, which straddle the town line, with Brookhaven completing the dredging and Riverhead taking on drainage work on the roads leading to the ponds.
But Riverhead hasn’t been able to come up with the funding for its half.
“Riverhead doesn’t have the funds to do it so we decided to move forward on our own,” Ms. Bonner said. “What we are doing will buy Riverhead some time until they get the funds. They have to do the bulk of the drainage and stormwater management.”
Brookhaven received $170,000 in state grants for the project, and must match with $170,000 of its own, she said.
Supervisor Sean Walter said the town had planned on using a $170,000 county grant to finance half of its $340,000 cost, but has had trouble getting that grant as the county faces its own financial problems.
Without the grant, the town won’t be able to do the work, Mr. Walter said.
About 10 percent of the ponds is in Riverhead Town, but they’re at the bottom of a hill that carries runoff from Riverhead roads.
The Duck Ponds were last dredged in 1992, according to Wading River Civic Association president Sid Bail.
“The reason why it’s important, other than the aesthetics, is that the two ponds flow into the larger pond on the other side of North Country Road, called Mill Pond,” he said. “And whatever road sediment flows into Mill Pond eventually works its way into wetlands and into Long Island Sound.”
Ms. Bonner said Brookhaven is only dredging the northern pond, which is entirely within Brookhaven, and is upgrading and cleaning the drainage system.
“This project was languishing for years before I got here and it’s taken four years to get to this point, so it’s probably a 10 year process,” the councilwoman said. “When we realized that Riverhead did not have the ability to move forward, we did let them know we were moving forward without them.”