Ferries, yachts and smaller vessels in Greenwich Harbor. File Photo: Leslie Yager

CT - Greenwich Harbor Dredge First Step: $500,000 in Federal Funding for Sediment Testing

Greenwich Harbor has been slowly silting in for decades, and dredging is long over due.

So it was an upbeat moment on Wednesday when federal and local officials gathered at the Greenwich Police Marine Operations dock to mark the approval of a $500,000 federal grant in fiscal year 2023 to kick-start the process.

Specifically, the funding was secured from the Army Corps of Engineers who will oversee the project. They will test dredge material to determine whether it is contaminated and how it might be safely disposed.

More than just the Marine Police vessels rely on accessing the federal navigation channel in the harbor.

Town ferry boats – The Island Beach, the Indian Harbor and the smaller Islander II – as well as the Harbor Master Boat are all present along the channel.

On the other side of the channel, large yachts are often docked at the Delamar Hotel.

US Congressman Jim Himes, US Senator from Connecticut Richard Blumenthal, First Selectman Fred Camillo and Selectwoman Lauren Rabin. April 5, 2023 Photo: Leslie Yager

The federal navigation channel that runs from the ferries out to the harbor is specified to be 13 ft in depth, but in some places it’s as shallow as 7 feet at low tide. Recreation vessels with a six foot keel can’t access the harbor. There have been moments that larger vessels have arrived at high tide and gotten stuck when the tide goes out.

Around the corner, in the area of Grass Island, which is not part of the federal navigation channel, there are slips that are no longer usable because the water is so shallow.

Wednesday’s press conference was organized Congressman Jim Himes, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo, who said he was grateful to the federal delegation.

“This is a happy occasion,” Camillo said.

“Greenwich has been blessed with a shoreline and islands and the residents cherish the water. But like other bodies up and down the coastline we’re starting to lose a lot of water with the silting and the need for dredging all over the place becoming a real issue.”

“This federal grant in fiscal year 2023 for $500,000 – it gets us started,” he added.

A key theme was that dredging will be a partnership.

“Greenwich has skin in the game,” Senator Blumenthal said.

The town of Greenwich has set aside $2 million for dredging, but the federal government is anticipated to cover most of the costs, which have been estimated at upwards of $8 million.

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