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NH Delegation Calls on Trump Administration to Prioritize Emergency Dredging for Hampton Harbor in Army Corps Of Engineers’ Yearly Work Plan

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led a letter with U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Annie Kuster (NH-02), to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James, requesting that emergency dredging for Hampton Harbor be included in the OMB and Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) fiscal year 2018 work plan. The two agencies develop an annual work plan to address high-need projects following the implementation of government funding legislation.

The delegation wrote, “Since it was last dredged in 2013, the harbor has experienced significant shoaling that will require emergency dredging. The New Hampshire Division of Ports and Harbors has indicated that without this maintenance, the harbor could become unusable in the very near future. We ask that you include this project in the Fiscal Year 2018 Corps Work Plan to ensure Hampton Harbor remains functional.”

Due to shoaling within the harbor’s channels, commercial fishermen and other small businesses dependent on access to the Harbor have struggled to work around the tides in order to reach the open ocean. Dredging is typically done every six to seven years, however, the increased amount of shoaling that has taken place in Hampton Harbor has been unexpected, and requires emergency, off-cycle dredging. The Corps released a Condition Survey in 2015 that confirmed shoaling has caused harbor depths to be shallower than the authorized depth.

The New Hampshire Congressional Delegation previously called on the Army Corps of Engineers in April 2017 to dredge Hampton Harbor. Hampton Harbor is New Hampshire’s largest commercial fishing port. Owners of several charter fishing businesses have asked for the Corps to dredge Hampton Harbor, which was last dredged in 2013.

In their letter, the delegation continued, “Hampton Harbor is an essential part of the New Hampshire seacoast economy and public safety infrastructure. The harbor currently supports 25 party-fishing boats, numerous lobster and commercial fishing boats, a federal funded pier with emergency response and patrol boats, and approximately 1,500 recreational vessels that are launched through the Hampton River Marina…In the absence of dredge maintenance, vessels utilizing the harbor’s resources may soon be unable to access or reach the open ocean.”

The delegation closes their letter by requesting that the dredging project be prioritized, and considered for both the fiscal year 2018 Corps Work Plan, as well as the emergency supplemental work plan.

Hampton Town Manager, Fred Welch, offered his support for the delegation’s efforts and stated, “We deeply appreciate the efforts that Senator Shaheen and the members of the New Hampshire delegation have put forward on behalf of the citizens of Hampton and New Hampshire to resolve the emergency matters affecting our harbor. Thank you to our delegation for your help and assistance in this time of pressing need for our residents and their families. With the delegation’s continued assistance, we will, together, provide for a better life for our residents.”

The delegation’s letter can be read in full here.