Long-delayed dredging at South Ferry has been under way since last week, and if all goes smoothly, it should be completed by about mid-November, according to South Ferry CEO Cliff Clark.
With some boats scraping bottom at extremely low tides both on the Shelter Island and North Haven sides, Mr. Clark has been pushing for the dredge work for a few years and hoping it would begin before the situation worsened.
Both the dredging crew and his South Ferry crews have been working well together in what amounts to “tight quarters” between boat landings.
“It’s a pleasure to see how ferry operators are doing, threading their way through,” given that the dredge operations are taking place within 100 feet of the boats’ route, Mr. Clark said.
There have been a few times when a rock got caught in the dredge equipment of a hydraulic line or equipment broke, but are not unexpected incidences, he said.
On Monday, the dredging was taking place on the Shelter Island side while the crew was preparing to move to the North Haven side for about four days because weaker tides would occur there.
Spoils from the dredge are currently dropped at Shell Beach, but will be moved to other parts of the Island where they’re needed to shore up beach fronts.
There are 40,000 to 50,000 yards of sand that can be moved, Mr. Clark said. If the town had to purchase the sand, it would cost between $15 and $20 per yard. Instead, it’s without cost to the town to use wherever it’s needed, he said.
That was done a couple of years ago when dredging occurred at Reel Point and the spoils were moved farther up on the spit of land that juts into Coecles Harbor.
Unfortunately, much of what was dredged from the Reel Point area has since filled in again, and members of the Waterways Management Advisory Committee are looking at ways to deal with the situation.