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Permit granted for dredging mouth of Stirling Basin

Greenport Village has been granted a permit by the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging the mouth of Stirling Basin, which hasn’t been done in decades and has been badly shoaling in this area, making it difficult for the more than 500 boats in the basin to navigate. 

But officials say the work must be done between September and December, according to village Mayor George Hubbard Jr. 

“It’s a very small window and September would put us well past the season,” Mr. Hubbard said at Thursday’s village board meeting. 

The restriction is based on regulations to preserve winter flounder. 

Mr. Hubbard said he will contact the state Department of Environmental Protection to see if they can alter that regulation. 

The mouth of the harbor hasn’t been dredged in decades, and some residents are critical of the placement of the dredge spoil the last time dredging occurred.

Trustee Peter Clarke, who owns Clark’s Garden and Home in Greenport, has heard those criticisms and visited the area Tuesday. 

“We have had a resident speak with us that suggest that the recommendation that the Army Corp made [for disposing the dredge spoil on shore] would result in environmental disaster,” he said. “I wanted to see for myself whether or not we were going to be subjected to an environmental disaster.”

He concluded, “that area is mostly very small deciduous perennials, and they would be disturbed, but the area is laid out in a way where all native shrubs and any tree of any size that was growing over any number of years since my last dredging would not be disturbed.”

Mr. Clarke said anything that gets disturbed by the dredge spoils can be easily mitigated with subsequent plantings or seedings in the area.

“Although I’m not a licensed native plant professional, from my professional work, I feel comfortable that the character of this area will not be denigrating by the placement of the dredging spoils,” he said. 

But resident David Corwin disagreed.

“Dumping sand onto the beach grass on Sandy Point, it is an environmental disaster,” he told the board. 

The dredging work will be paid for by Safe Harbor, which owns Brewer’s Yacht Basin and Stirling Harbor Marina, two of the largest marinas in Greenport, which are both located in Stirling Basin.