Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program

Pilot will fund up to $4 million this dredging season; Governor Baker pursuing longer-term solution through economic development legislation
For immediate release:
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program

Colleen Arons , Communications Director

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, center, and Housing and Economic Affairs Secretary Jay Ash, far right, attend the ribbon cutting for Manchester-by-the-Sea's dredging project.

Manchester-by-the-SeaToday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a new pilot program to support dredging in coastal communities in the 2018 season. The 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program will provide up to $4 million in grants to municipalities with shovel-ready projects for salt water dredging of public waterways that benefit local economies.

The 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program will be funded through the MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program, the state’s signature infrastructure program. The Administration previously announced a 5 percent set-aside in MassWorks funding for dredging projects awarded through a separate competitive grant cycle.

Identifying a need for dedicated funding, Governor Charlie Baker called for $50 million for saltwater dredging projects in the economic development legislation filed in March, creating the first program dedicated for dredging projects in the Commonwealth.

“Massachusetts has one of the most vibrant maritime economies in the country, and we are committed to supporting the economic vitality, recreation, public safety and environmental resources of our coastal communities” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This new $4 million pilot program is a critical next step and complements the over $30 million in funding to seaports in the Commonwealth, and our broader efforts to establish regular funding for dredging through the economic development bill, currently working its way through the Legislature.”

“As the chair of the Seaport Economic Council, I have a deep appreciation for the coastal assets that distinguish our state,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud to partner with communities like Manchester-by-the-Sea to ensure the important work of dredging is supported, and to create a framework going forward so that more of these efforts get the funding needed to enhance our waterways and ensure they are accessible to all.”

Lt. Governor Polito announced the new program today at the ribbon cutting for the Manchester Harbor Dredging Project, which received $500,000 in state funding through MassWorks last year. The Manchester effort was the first dredging project to receive funding through MassWorks.  

“After making the inaugural dredging grant to Manchester-by-the-Sea, we engaged extensively with over 250 stakeholders from our 78 coastal communities through local listening sessions to understand how the state can better support their dredging needs,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “It became clear a stand-alone dredging program was necessary to help them to make the improvements and preparations necessary for long-term growth, and fuller participation in the blue economy; and it is an essential component of the economic development legislation filed by Governor Baker in March.”

“The completion of the Manchester Harbor dredging project has broad and far-reaching impact by supporting our commercial and recreational fishing industries, creating long-lasting jobs, and increasing the public access to the North Shore’s beautiful natural resources,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The new Navigational Dredging Pilot Program reflects the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to coastal communities and the sustainable use of the Commonwealth’s waters.”

“The Commonwealth’s capital investment plan supports successful programs like MassWorks grants and municipal dredging projects that provide good jobs and unlock the economic potential of our working harbors,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “Our Administration will continue to invest strategically to build opportunities across economic sectors and in every community in the Commonwealth.”

Legislative, local and maritime leaders celebrated the Manchester Harbor project.

“Dredging Manchester Harbor is important for the local fishing and tourist economics, and protecting this great natural resource,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. “Yet, it wouldn’t have happened without tremendous local leadership and the critical funding provided by the Baker-Polito administration.  Hopefully, it is the first of many such projects to come in our region.”

“It is great to be here today celebrating the completion of the Manchester Harbor Dredging project. This is a vital initiative for the community of Manchester-by-the-Sea and all those who utilize its waterways, both commercially and recreationally,” said Representative Bradford Hill.

“The Town and its Board of Selectmen have worked tirelessly for years to see this project come to fruition, and we thank the Baker-Polito Administration. Without this MassWorks grant, it would not have been possible.”

“These dredging grants are critically important and they will ensure the vitality of our coastal communities into the future,” said Representative Sarah Peake. “Commercial and recreational fishermen, pleasure boaters, and shore-side commerce will all benefit.”

“This project is all about partnership. Starting with the state’s support through a MassWorks grant to the team that delivered this project on time speaks to a great result for all,” said Susan Beckmann, Chair of the Manchester Board of Selectmen. “Thank you to all state and local officials who supported this MassWorks grant. It was a great win for all.”

“Funding to support dredging brings significant benefit to the local maritime economy,” said Bion Pike, Manchester Harbormaster.  “The recently completed dredging project in Manchester-by-the-Sea has allowed local businesses and the town to implement important marine infrastructure projects benefiting local businesses, recreational boaters, and commercial fishermen. We are grateful for the state and local investment in this project and we applaud the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to coastal communities.”

“The completion of this dredging will have a positive safety impact on the region’s boating community,” said Coast Guard Captain Eric Doucette, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Boston.  “Just like our local roads and bridges need regularly scheduled maintenance and repair, our harbors need to be dredged to keep a safe and consistent depth to avoid groundings and collisions for our local mariners.”  

In August 2016, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H.4569) to reauthorize MassWorks and support $500 million of future investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth. The Baker-Polito Administration has increased MassWorks funding by $35 million over the past two fiscal years. Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded over $274 million to 134 projects in 106 communities throughout the Commonwealth.

In March, Governor Baker filed economic development legislation that includes $50 million in funding for dredging projects and an additional $300 million re-authorization over the next five years for MassWorks.

The 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program enables coastal communities to pursue projects in the immediate dredging season, beginning in September. It will be administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

Projects will be evaluated based on readiness, direct economic impact, and local match. Specifically, we’ll be looking to support projects that: advance economic development opportunities in designated port areas and developed harbors; support commercial, tourism and recreational opportunities; increase public access and safety on waterways and harbors; demonstrate environmental benefits; and are consistent with the Commonwealth’s Sustainable Development Principles.

Program guidelines and applications for the 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program are available online. Completed applications are due to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development by Aug. 3.



Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development 

The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development promotes vibrant communities, growing businesses, and a strong middle class.