Long-awaited project to dredge Mattituck Inlet now complete

Work was completed March 27 on the Mattituck Inlet dredging project. (Credit: Carrie Miller)
Work was completed March 27 on the Mattituck Inlet dredging project. (Credit: Carrie Miller)

After more than 15 years of negotiations the dredging of Mattituck Inlet is officially complete, providing area boaters with safe travel and adjacent residents with a newly replenished beach, federal officials said.

Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), who pushed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to finance the project, called it a victory, adding that its completion didn’t come without its share of hiccups. 

Early on in the dredging process, he said officials noticed the amount of sand needed to replenish the shore-starved beach to the east of the inlet wouldn’t be available without some changes to the $2.2 million dredging project.

Homeowners on the east side of Mattituck Inlet, including Ron and Doris McGreevy, who spearheaded a campaign locally to get the inlet dredged, had been expecting a beach re-nourishment of about 100,000 cubic yards of dredging material, some of which was to be removed from the inlet, deepening the inlet channel to 11 feet below mean low tide, improving navigability at the same time.

In order to get close to that 100,000 cubic yard goal, Mr. Bishop said he pushed the Army Corps to extend the dredging window from Feb. 28 to March 7, and he received authorization to dredge the inlet deeper than originally planned — to about 15 feet below mean low tide.

“So we now have a channel that is very safe to navigate and the dredge itself will last longer until there is any need for another maintenance dredge,” he said. “We were able to work closely with the Army Corps and in fact push the Army Corps pretty strongly to get them to stay on the job and complete it such that it basically ended up where the community had been promised.”

Residents to the east ended up with 98,242 cubic yards of sand replenishing their beach — a long-awaited transformation that Mr. McGreevy said has made area residents happy.

“They gave us close to what they promised, and I was very pleased with it. It’s done a lot of good for the beach,” Mr. McGreevy said. “I would definitely call it a success.”

Congressman Bishop agreed: “All in all it is a big win for the inlet and a big win for the beach to the east of the inlet.”

Of the 15-year process for the project to come to fruition, Mr. McGreevy joked, “I’m glad it’s over.”

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