Navigating the entrance to Stirling Basin should be much easier next year thanks to a long-awaited dredging project that will soon get underway.
Greenport Village officials announced Monday that the dredging is set to begin Dec. 17.
After obtaining a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the beginning of the year, the village recently got permission from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to use a land-based excavator to move material out of the water.
Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said the project is long overdue. “It’s finally going to get done,” he said Monday. “It’s a positive thing for the channel, for safety.”
The excavation will re-establish required depths in the channel, where shoaling has made it difficult for the more than 500 boats that use the basin to navigate.
Though there’s some debate about when the channel was last dredged, most estimates point to about 25 years ago.
Local boaters have said that two boats used to be able to navigate the passageway at once, which has since become impossible. Low tides also pose frequent navigational challenges to boaters attempting to enter or exit the basin.
Last year, officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the village to consider hiring a private contractor to do the work rather than wait for the Corps or Suffolk County. Since the project involves less than 1,000 yards of sand, it wouldn’t have been one of their top priorities, officials said.
Safe Harbor, the company that owns Greenport Yacht Yard and Stirling Harbor Marina in Greenport, has since pledged to fund the project and hired a private contractor to do the work while the village applied for all the necessary permits.
“This is their way of giving back to the community,” Mr. Hubbard said. “But it’s a benefit for everybody. It’ll make a big difference. Even at low tide, you’ll be able to get through there.”
Dredged materials will be used to replenish sand on Sandy Beach Point above the high tide line, officials said. The project, which is weather-dependent, could wrap up as soon as the end of December.