Weeks Marine began emergency dredging of Moriches Inlet on October 7 under a $9,960,000 contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District. The contract was awarded on July 11 with Weeks conducting dredging surveys and mobilizing equipment throughout July and August.
An Emergency Declaration was issued by the Corps North Atlantic Division in April allowing for expedited coordination between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the State of New York Department of State to identify a placement location for 300,000 cubic yards of sand. Approximately 158,000 cubic yards will be placed west of Moriches Inlet as a coastal storm risk reduction measure for Smith Point County Park Pavilion and its barrier island. The inlet will be dredged to its federally authorized depth of 10 feet deep and 200 feet wide.
The emergency declaration came after strong storms last winter caused significant shoaling of the inlet that became a navigation and ground hazard to U.S. Coast Guard vessels as well as recreational boats. The U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue team vessels transit Moriches Inlet when responding to lifesaving missions.
The project uses a cutter suction dredge and 30,000 linear feet of submerged pipeline that will transfer up to 12,000 cubic yards of sand a day, 5 miles to Smith Point County Park where bulldozers shape the sand to provide storm risk reduction.
Maintenance dredging was last performed in Moriches Inlet in 2009, removing 460,000 cubic yards of material. The inlet was used as a borrow source to close a breach at Cupsogue Beach that was created by Hurricane Sandy. At that time 200,000 cubic yards of sand was removed.