KINGSTON — The benefits of the Port of Kingston Marina dredge could be seen immediately once it is complete.
The water depth will deepen with the dredged sediment removed, which is expected to be complete by Dec. 30. Deeper water will make it easier to move in and out of the marina in Apple Tree Cove, Port Manager David Malone said.
“It has become really tight and you have to almost dogleg to miss all the areas that were [shallow],” Malone said.
There are areas where boats would scrape against, or become stuck on sand bars. Larger boats and boats with a deep draft — the minimum depth a boat can navigate through — have been known to completely avoid mooring at the marina because of the shallow water, Malone said.
“You have some boaters with a deep draft and they hear about [running aground] … The last thing you want is your big beautiful boat getting stuck on sand,” Malone said.
American Construction Company is performing the dredge. A dredge barge, which houses a crane and bucket, pulls the sediment out from the marina. A GPS is used to determine where to dredge. A sensor on the bucket alerts workers if the bucket pulls anything larger than 24 inches out of the water — which is disposed of, if necessary.
The sediment is placed in the dump barge, which is towed to Port Gardner off the coast of Everett. The sediment is dumped in designated area not far from there.
Coast & Harbor Engineering is monitoring the work, as is the port staff. Reports on the dredge are filed every day, so having a “safety net” of a second set of eyes is useful, Malone said.
American Construction is contractually obligated to be finished with the dredge by Dec. 30. Malone expected the majority of the work to be done by the middle of December. Work is contingent on tides and wind.
The port is expecting more traffic once the dredge is complete. The port has $17,500 on its 2015 budget for a four-door electric car, to provide to guests so they can drive into town to pick up supplies. The current two-seat electric car has 6,000 miles on it; and that’s from people going about a half-mile into town, Malone said.
“That’s a lot of people going a short distance, so we know there’s a lot of flow,” he said.
More traffic into the marina could benefit the port and Kingston businesses, Malone said. If larger boats come in, that’s potentially more people going to shop and eat at restaurants, he said.
The dredge will also benefit the environment, Malone said. Fewer or no boats scraping against or grounding on the seabed will mean less material from boats in the water.
“It’s not just for boaters, but the overall health of the cove,” Malone said of the dredge.
The port will have to monitor the dredged area, and eelgrass that was relocated just outside of the breakwater, for five years. If more sediment has filled in the marina another dredge may be necessary.
The likelihood of another dredge being necessary down the road potentially increases with the plan to remove a second culvert in the estuary. The culvert under West Kingston Road is expected to be removed and replaced with a bridge in 2017.
When the first culvert under South Kingston Road was removed, it increased outflow of sediment.
“We view that as a positive thing in carpenter creek [and the estuary],” Malone said. “Getting that sediment out of there — that’s a positive. But it does allow for outflow and that sediment does go somewhere.”
A survey will be done in the future to determine depths and slope of the marina.
“This is not the end of it,” Malone said.