DREDGING THE NANTICOKE

 
 

DREDGING WILL NOT PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE NANTICOKE RIVER OR IMPROVE SAFETY ON THE RIVER.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, only the navigation channel will be dredged. The channel will be dredged to a depth of 12 feet and width of 100 feet. Check out the photos below to enlarge them. In the first photo you can easily see the depth markings on the front of the barge. This particular barge shows depth markings of 11 feet.  Now compare this to the loaded barges and it becomes obvious that fully loaded barges can already travel to and from Seaford.

So the problem is not the navigation channel depth, but rather the fact that barge companies are pushing longer, more heavily loaded barges up the river making it much more difficult to navigate the 100 foot wide channel. Barges up to 60 feet wide and up to 400 feet long are just too big for this narrow river.

Dredging will not widen the navigation channel of the river and so will NOT make the river safer. Actually the opposite could be true, if dredging allows larger and more heavily loaded barges to travel the river, even more damage will occur.

Problems on the Nanticoke River are not due to the navigation channel. Problems are caused when barges and/or Tugs leave the navigation channel.

Before dredging occurs, the following are examples of what could be done to alleviate problems:

  1. 1)Conduct a Barge/boat impact study to determine what damage is being caused and identify corrective measures.

  2. 2)Hold barge companies responsible for the damage being caused.  This includes damage that is not easily visible because it is below the water line (with heavily loaded barges this could the 10 to 12 feet beneath the surface of the water). Fines should be assessed for unsafe operation and groundings. Fines collected should be used to repair damages caused by barges and tugs.

  3. 3)Establish size limits (length and depth) for barges.

  4. 4)Establish speed limits for Barges and Tugs.

  5. 5)Have the Army Corps of Engineers conduct a safety assessment of the navigation channel markers on the Nanticoke River and relocate or add markers where necessary.

  6. 6)Establish a state tax on barge companies that transport materials on the Nanticoke River and designate the monies collected to funding conservation and environmental protection for the river and its associated wetlands.

BARGE COMPANIES ARE EAGER TO INCREASE THEIR PROFITS BY BRINGING LARGER AND MORE HEAVILY LOADED BARGES UP THE NANTICOKE RIVER - but where is the concern for safety and the environment