Mattituck residents who have long been pushing for the dredging of Mattituck Inlet had harsh words for Congressman Tim Bishop at a forum in Mattituck Friday morning, after the dredging was nixed in 2011 due to federal budget cuts.
Fisherwoman Cindy Kaminsky, who keeps a fishing boat in the inlet with her husband, Jim, and Doris and Ron McGreevy of Mattituck asked Mr. Bishop why Mattituck Inlet seems to be perpetually pushed to the bottom of the federal priority list at a forum Friday at the Southold Town Human Resource Center in Mattituck.
The dredging was initially planned for winter 2011, but was scrapped last year after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ budget was cut by $500 million. The Mattituck project had been slated to cost $3.2 million.
Mr. Bishop said after the funding was cut he had to “triage” the inlets in his district to see which was in the worst shape and in desperate need of funding.
He pushed for a $375,000 emergency dredging of Montauk Inlet instead, because it is the largest commercial fishing port in New York and a U.S. Coast Guard station.
“Reasonable people can take issue with my judgement,” he said. “I’ll have to live with that.”
Ron McGreevy said the last time the inlet was dredged, in 2004, the Army Corps only did a portion of the work before using the rest of the money on the South Fork.
Mr. McGreevy said that Mattituck Inlet should be a priority, since it’s the closest inlet to ConocoPhillp’s Northville oil terminal, which routinely receives shipments in the tens of millions of gallons.
“It’s the only place to get rescue vessels out quick,” he said.
Read more about dredging concerns and Friday’s meeting in this week’s Suffolk Times.