BY MADDY VITALE, OCNJDAILY
There was a time when the lagoons and channels in Ocean City were so choked with sediment that it was difficult to navigate a boat.
That all changed several years ago under the city administration’s ambitious multi-year, multimillion-dollar dredging program.
That’s not to say that sediment doesn’t build up now. But the dredging program continually focuses on waterways that need to be cleared of silt and mud to make the back bays enjoyable and safe for boaters, bathers, and those using watercraft.
“Our multi-year dredging plan continues to keep our back bays safe and navigable. It is one of our biggest commitments,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in an interview Friday.
Gillian has been in office since 2010. He noted that in the early years of his administration, the need to shift the focus to the importance of clearing the back bays was paramount and a plan was put in place.
“They were so choked with sediment neighbors couldn’t get out of their boat slips,” Gillian explained. “Over the last eight years, great things have been done back there to clear the channels of sediment. Now, not only can the homeowners enjoy the back bays, but businesses there and marinas are thriving. But the most important thing is the waterways are safe.”
Gillian outlined work to dredge the bayside lagoons and waterways that will begin this month.
On Jan. 16, machinery will be mobilized and then workers will clear the channels and lagoons that currently need it.
Dredging will begin around Jan. 23 at North Point Lagoon. The project will then move south to Snug Harbor, Glen Cove, the bayfront along Glenwood Drive, Clubhouse/Bluefish Lagoons, and the adjacent channel out to the Intracoastal Waterway.
Gillian remarked about Hurricane Sandy, which battered the coast and wreaked havoc on the back bays on Oct. 29, 2012.
“Sandy scared us and showed us how important it is to build up our back bays,” Gillian said. “It is important to build up our back bays and keep them up. We aren’t just dredging. We are doing so many things to build up the marshes. We are really doing many environmentally friendly things.”