Saugatuck River dredging in Connecticut to get US$2.8 million funding

A USACE dredger (Photo: USACE)

US Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut have secured US$2.81 million for dredging works on the state’s Saugatuck River to be performed during fiscal year 2022 as part of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.

Once the bill is signed into law and funding is approved, the dredging will be executed to improve the navigation, commerce, aquatic life, and habitats in the town of Westport, particularly its central business district and waterfront.

The last time the Saugatuck River was dredged was in 1969. Since that time, continued shoaling has been occurring and has caused large portions of the river to be impassable at low tide and navigationally challenging at higher tides.

The Westport municipal government said that vessels can no longer travel from the Long Island Sound or from the marinas at the southern end of the Saugatuck River to Westport’s central business district because of the minimal water depths caused by shoaling. Further, aquatic life and animal habitats in and around the river are being adversely impacted by urban storm water runoff.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is preparing to conduct an environmental assessment (EA) of the proposed dredged material disposal site, the Sherwood Island Burrow Site, to commence this September. Once the EA is completed, the corps will present the disposal site to the Long Island Sound Dredging Authority.

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