Major dredging project will increase commerce, safety & recreation at the Jersey Shore
A major federal dredging project on the Delaware Bay is set to begin next year and a congressman from South Jersey says that it is just the beginning.
Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew was at the Atlantic City Coast Guard station on Tuesday, saying that well-dredged waterways that allow larger boats and ships to pass through are vital for commerce, safety and recreation all along the Jersey Shore.
“We don’t get to highlight this mission very often. It’s not flashy. It’s dirty, it smells,” says U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jonathan Theel. “This is a hard job. It’s incredibly dirty and when we do it right, nobody really notices.”
“So much of our quality of life and our economy depends on our beautiful Jersey Shore,” says Brett Matlik, chairwoman of the Atlantic County Economic Alliance.
Deeper, clear and well-marked channels mean easier passage for everyone, from commercial fishers to recreational boaters.
“Everybody’s trying to use the same space to get where they need to go,” says Theel.
“We must build infrastructure that facilitates commerce,” says Van Drew.
Increased dredging efforts up and down the Jersey Shore and Delaware Bayshore are just one part of the Stronger Shores initiative that Van Drew championed.
“This is only the beginning. The next initiative of Stronger Shores is a generational dredging of the central and southern Jersey Shore,” the congressman says.
Phase 1 of Stronger Shores initiative involves dredging waterways from Atlantic City to Cape May. Phase 2 will focus on Ocean County. Van Drew says his policy also envisions investments to guard against erosion and flooding, environmental cleanup and promoting maritime commerce.
“The Stronger Shores initiative is an opportunity to bring overdue federal resources into our region, to help us diversify the economy, support job growth, critical infrastructure, and shore protection,” says Matlik.
“I am a conservation conservative. I believe in clean air, I believe in clean water, I believe in protecting wildlife. Environmental stewardship is a noble American tradition,” says Van Drew.
Dredging at the mouth of the Maurice River in Cumberland County is set to begin in the fall of 2022.