More dredging planned in mouth of Housatonic

More dredging is being scheduled at the mouth of the Housatonic River.

The Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission has announced a $10 million project, slated to start in November.

The upcoming work is the second phase of the 2012 dredging, on which the Stratford commission was also the lead agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During that first phase, some 63,000 cubic yards of sand were removed from the Housatonic. Another 300,000 cubic yards of clean sand will be dredged from the river’s Federal Channel, from Goose Island to the river’s mouth, in Phase II.

This marks the first major dredging of the Housatonic River since 1976, when 215,000 cubic yards of sand was removed from the channel.

“This project will serve as a win/win model for future Connecticut dredging efforts because both the Town of Stratford will benefit from maintenance dredging of the Housatonic’s navigation channel, and the State will benefit as the recipient of sand for nourishment of the beach at Hammonasset State Park,” said Bill Rock, chairman of the Dredging Subcommittee for the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission.

The 2012 Housatonic Phase I dredging project, which used the Army Corps of Engineers hopper dredge Currituck, provided comprehensive data provided by Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) necessary to advance to this much larger second-phase project. It also identified the Housatonic as a good source of sand suitable for beach nourishment. The 2016 dredging project was developed through the cooperative efforts of the Stratford Waterfront commission, working directly with the same partners as in the first phase, which included the Corps of Engineers, DEEP and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, to produce one project with two major benefits. This model project also provides upland use of the sand as an alternative to the traditional practice of off-shore disposal in Long Island Sound.

There are two more steps involved prior to the start of the project: final water certification by the DEEP and the bidding process for a dredging contractor.

The 2016 dredging project, which will take about four months to complete, was developed through the cooperative efforts of the Stratford Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission, working directly with the same partners as Phase I — which included the Army Corps, DEEP, the state Department of Transportation, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy — to produce a two-fold solution.