A Shore Thing
WESTFIELD – The idea is to provide a safe harbor for sailboats and the overall well-being of the Barcelona Harbor economy.
Westfield Supervisor Martha Bills said, since early July, the Dean Marine and Excavating Inc. (DME) has dredged about 46,000 cubic yards along the Barcelona Harbor. The company, known for full-service marine construction, dredges about 15,000 cubic yards a day if weather permits.
“We are really happy to have the area north of the pier done,” Bills said. “We had crucial areas marked, but they have done more than anticipated, so we are very pleased.”
Bills explained the harbor is part of a harbor refuge known as the 1946 Harbor Act, which means a ship caught in the lake could use their harbor to port.
“People make their living fishing and being guides on that harbor,” she said. “We want to make it functional for the harbor economy and the whole region.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation has a designated area where the DME can take the sediment and place it several miles off shore.
“Two dredges take out the sediment and empty it into the area,” Bills said. “They keep rotating – one takes it out while the other is being filled. Everything has gone very well.”
Harbor staff member Carter Stetson has been watching the progress at the marina.
“There have been a few more windy days than they (DME) anticipated,” he said. “They have to slow down when the lake is too rough. They can’t take large dredges three miles out when the waves are too high.”
The company is consciously aware of boaters, and has been considerate of them while dredging. People should feel more confident launching their boats on the harbor once the dredging is complete.
“They start early and will go all day and night if the water is calm,” Stetson said.
Stetson added he could have charged admission to the dredging.
“People are very interested in what’s going on,” he said. “When they are up and running we have lots of cars lined up here to watch.”
The dredging should be complete Sept. 12, if weather cooperates.
“This is an all around good thing for the harbor,” Stetson said. “It will benefit sailboats more. They need deep water to sail in, and this will provide that.”
“They need a safe harbor,” he continued. “We call it a safe harbor, because it is a place to pull in with the sailboat, so they can get food, look around the area, or stay the night if they want.”