A long-awaited project to dredge a channel that feeds Sengekontacket Pond is set to go this spring, now that Oak Bluffs has awarded a bid for project. Sediment has been piling up at the channel since Hurricane Sandy.
A project to rebuild the two jetties at Menemsha harbor is expected to begin in the next two weeks, while a more controversial project to dredge the channel to Menemsha Pond has been delayed until next fall.
The town of Oak Bluffs learned Friday that the federal government has approved funding to dredge under the Little Bridge at Sengekontacket Pond. The news capped a week during which selectmen began discussing alternatives if funding did not come through.
Discouraged by a stalled quest for federal funding, the town of Oak Bluffs is now looking for other ways to dredge the sand-filled channel beneath the Little Bridge at Sengekontacket Pond. The inlet has now closed and the window to dredge it is also closing, with April the deadline for work to be done.
Reacting to an April 7 letter from the federal agency, selectmen sounded off about the decision to dredge Menemsha channel despite the town’s objections. “I’m not surprised but I am ticked off,” said selectman Jonathan Mayhew.
A spirit of cooperation traditionally prevails in the neighboring towns of Aquinnah and Chilmark, but there has been disagreement lately over an Army Corps of Engineers project to dredge the Menemsha basin and channel.
Edgartown selectmen signed off the dredge committee’s request to rent an excavator and move about 1,400 cubic yards of sand. The sand needed to be dredged as soon as possible because Edgartown Great Pond has a dredging deadline of April 1.