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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.6 million in Massachusetts Dredging Program Awards

Beverly, Chatham, Dennis and Hingham receive funds from new program supporting coastal infrastructure projects
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
  • Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.6 million in Massachusetts Dredging Program Awards

Colleen Arons , Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito presents Massachusetts Dredging Awards in Hingham.

HINGHAM- Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Town Manager Thomas Mayo and other state and local officials to announce $3.6 million in Massachusetts Dredging Program grants to four communities, including a $2 million award for work on Hingham’s Inner Harbor.

Lt. Governor Polito also announced awards for Beverly, Chatham and Dennis through the first-ever grant round of the Massachusetts Dredging Program, which is part of a targeted effort to bolster the Commonwealth’s 78 coastal communities. Last week, Lt Governor Polito kicked off 2019 Grant Round announcements at an event in Nantucket, one of the five awardees from the $4.1 million 2019 Grant Round.

“The vitality of the Commonwealth’s coastal communities is an integral part of Massachusetts’ blue economy, and the state’s economy as a whole,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The success of last year’s pilot dredging program highlighted the impact of investing in locally focused initiatives, and led us to create the Massachusetts Dredging Program to continue to support the unique priorities of seaside cities and towns.”

“We are excited to establish this important new economic tool, which will have a direct impact on Massachusetts coastal communities like Hingham, Beverly, Chatham and Dennis,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “As the Seaport Council Chairwoman, I have seen the tremendous effect dedicated dredging and coastal assistance funds can have on our maritime economy and we are committed to doing more through this new funding source.”

In March, the Baker-Polito Administration announced its first standalone grant program offering $4 million in focused funding for saltwater dredging on a competitive, annual basis. Dredging assistance is vital to help coastal communities to maintain and improve their navigational waterways and support the long-term growth and sustainability of the state’s maritime economy.

“The Massachusetts Dredging Program is an important economic catalyst for the Commonwealth’s blue economy,’ said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Responsive programs such as the new Massachusetts Dredging Program will allow cities and towns from Hingham to New Bedford and all along our coastline to maintain their rich maritime traditions and expand our coastal economies.”

The Hingham Inner Harbor dredging project will remove an estimated 62,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Hingham Inner Harbor, enabling all-tide use of a regionally significant boat ramp. It is one of only three ramps operated by the Massachusetts Office of Fishing & Boating Access that provides access to the Boston Harbor.

Today’s grant builds on past state investment in Hingham. In 2016, Hingham received a $700,000 grant from the Seaport Economic Council (SEC) to build a maritime center at Bathing Beach, followed by a 2018 SEC grant of $370,000 for the replacement of the maritime center’s main docking system and sailing floats.

“Hingham is thrilled to be selected as a Massachusetts Dredging Program grant recipient for 2019.  Our harbor is a busy place attracting boaters from all over the Commonwealth and we are committed to the responsible stewardship of this busy waterway.  We appreciate the forethought of the Baker-Polito Administration to provide meaningful state support to coastal communities like ours so that we can all join together to promote and protect our blue economy,” said Karen Johnson, Chair of the Hingham Selectmen.

“Hingham Harbor plays a vital role in supporting the South Shore economy,” said Senator Patrick O’Connor. “By freeing up the boat ramp and moorings at all hours of the day, Hingham will be able to serve an even larger role in the Commonwealth’s blue economy. I am very thankful to the Baker-Polito Administration for recognizing the importance of Hingham Harbor.”

“Thank you to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for choosing to invest in this important project. This funding will unlock the economic potential of the Hingham harbor and its waterfront,” said Representative Joan Meschino.

“I am thrilled to see the Town of Hingham receive this crucial grant,” said Representative James Murphy. “Dredging is vital to ensuring access to this beautiful waterfront, it truly is one of the centerpieces of the community.  All steps must be taken to preserve and protect this natural resource, as well as ensure access to the navigable waterways including the boat ramp and the many moorings in the harbor.”

Additional 2019 Massachusetts Dredging Program funds awarded today were $1.4 million to Beverly, $100,000 to Chatham and $100,000 to Dennis.

"Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for this important grant funding to support the Bass River dredging project.  We're thrilled to receive this funding that will support the dredging of the waterway that greatly improves access for boaters and spurs the economic growth along the Bass River," said Mayor Michael Cahill of Beverly

"Having secured $100,000 for the dredging of the Bass River in the Senate budget, I am grateful to the Baker Administration for providing additional funding for this vital project," said Senator Joan Lovely.  "A reinvigorated Bass River will provide increased economic, environmental, and recreational benefits for residents and businesses both in Beverly and throughout the North Shore.”

"It is wonderful that the state is making this significant contribution to the dredging of the Bass River. Because of sediment buildup, the river has become virtually unnavigable during low tide, so this project will open access for recreational and commercial vessels and provide an economic boost to the City and region. This project is a great example of local and state governments and private entities working together for the greater good,” said Representative Jerry Parisella.

“The Town of Chatham is very pleased that the Baker-Polito Administration has again found that navigation dredging is in the interests of the Commonwealth. They further recognized the importance of commercial fishing and maintaining our maritime ports for the blue economy.  The $100,000 will help leverage Town funds to provide improved moorage and access to Chatham’s Municipal Fish Pier for our commercial fishing fleet,” said Chatham Town Manager Jill R. Goldsmith.


“These dredging grants will result in all-tide access in Chatham, which is home to the largest commercial fleet on Cape Cod and two U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue vessels; and all tide access in Dennis’ Sesuit Harbor which serves over 350 vessels, both commercial and recreational,” said Senator Julian Cyr. “Dredging is an indispensable part of infrastructure maintenance that preserves water quality and safeguards the commercial fishing and recreational boating industries on Cape Cod.”

““I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration and Secretary Kennealy for their leadership in making this critical funding available to Chatham. People who don’t live and work in coastal areas have no idea what a big deal this is; but the Baker-Polito Administration knows, and they “get it.“  The dredging funds allocated to Chatham are critical to the ongoing economic vitality of the town and the region.  Without this funding the fish pier was at risk of shoaling in, making it impossible for the fishing fleet to use the pier.  In addition to the economic importance, this dredging program also benefits the environment,”  said Representative Sarah Peake.

“The Town of Dennis is thrilled to be awarded the 2019 Massachusetts Dredging Program grant for Sesuit Harbor. Sesuit Harbor is a critical natural resource to the Town of Dennis. It is an integral part of the Dennis infrastructure and serves as a draw for tourists and residents alike. This funding will help the Town maintain a navigable channel with 6 to 7-foot depth at MLW, which is critically important to the Town of Dennis for the safety of both commercial and recreational users of Sesuit Harbor,” said Town Administrator Elizabeth C. Sullivan.

The Massachusetts Dredging Program is financed with funds allocated under the 2018 Economic Development Bill, which was signed by Governor Baker on August 9, 2018. The program builds on the success of the 2018 Navigational Dredging Pilot Program, which awarded $3.6 million to 10 projects, tapping into $3.9 million in local funding.

Applications are evaluated by the program administrator, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), in consultation with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. . A minimum 50 percent local match is required for any application under consideration.


2019 Massachusetts Dredging Program Awards

Beverly - $1.4 million - The City of Beverly will remove an estimated 50,500 cubic yards of sediment from the southern segment of the Bass River channel. This is the first phase of a two-phase project that will dredge the length of the river, restoring the channel to its authorized depth and width for the first time in over a century. The Bass River Dredging Project will provide all-tide navigation and off-loading access for 18 commercial vessels, mainly lobster boats, which land a significant portion of the City’s total annual lobster catch, valued at $3.5 million in 2017. The project will also increase access to over 70 recreational moorings and slips, support the activities of a local marina and yacht yard, generate ancillary benefits for the City’s downtown and waterfront areas, and trigger the cleanup of an estimated 24,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the channel by National Grid.

Chatham - $100,000 - The Town of Chatham will remove an estimated 14,000 cubic yards of sand and sediment from the mooring basin and Municipal Fish Pier at Aunt Lydia’s Cove in Chatham Harbor. Chatham Harbor is home to the largest commercial fishing fleet on Cape Cod and the third largest in Massachusetts, with fishermen landing over $18.6 million of finfish in Chatham in 2017. The municipal pier is the primary off-loading facility for these landings, and the abutting basin provides moorage for nearly 60 commercial fishing vessels. Dredging will provide all-tide access to the pier and basin, supporting not only the commercial fishing fleet but also two U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue assets and over a dozen private business vessels that operate within the harbor, including charter boats, whale watches, and harbor tours. Chatham also received $350,000 in the 2018 dredging pilot program.

Dennis - $100,000 - The Town of Dennis will remove an estimated 15,000 cubic yards of sand from the entrance channel at Sesuit Harbor. This project will support all-tide access to a public and private marina, which collectively serve over 350 vessels. The project will further restore all-tide navigation for 25 commercial fishing vessels and over a dozen private business vessels that operate within the harbor. These include charter boats, two parasailing boats, and one tour boat. Additionally, Sesuit Harbor is a hub for recreational boating activity in the region, offering two public boat ramps with parking for over 200 vehicles, including accommodations for over 80 boat trailers

Hingham - $2,000,000 - Hingham will remove an estimated 62,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Hingham Inner Harbor, enabling all-tide use of a regionally significant boat ramp and restoring all-tide access to its more than 230 public moorings, all of which double for transient use when unoccupied for more than 24 hours. Hingham Harbor is a catalyst for economic activity in the community, generating business for numerous shops, restaurants, and coffeehouses in downtown Hingham, and supporting commercial landings of soft-shell clams and rockweed, a seaweed used as packing material for lobsters. The boat ramp supports two commercial haul and launch services and one mooring repair enterprise.

Nantucket (announced July 19th) - $500,000 for the Nantucket Town Pier Dredging Project, which will remove an estimated 1,180 cubic yards of sediment from the dock basin of the Town Pier in Nantucket Harbor. This project will clear the way for replacement of the existing docking system, which was severely damaged by coastal storms in 2018. The project will further provide all-tide berthing at the pier’s public slips. The Nantucket Town Pier generates approximately $142,000 in annual revenue for the island, and is the gateway to downtown Nantucket for transient boaters and cruise-ship passengers who frequent the area’s shops, restaurants, three major hotels, and about a dozen bed and breakfasts. The Town Pier provides berthing for over 100 commercial, recreational, and transient vessels, and further provides important dockage for tenders and dinghies, which support use of over 1,500 moorings in the harbor.




Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.6 million in Massachusetts Dredging Program Awards

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.

Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito