ISLIP TOWN

Brown’s River dredging sees some traction

NYSDOT program to provide town with $500,000 for dredging, bulkheading projects

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Brown’s River Marinas West and East are two steps closer to being fully dredged.

Islip Town officials on April 7 approved a resolution which authorizes a capital project agreement with the New York State Department of Transportation.

The agreement provides $500,000 in funding for the dredging of Brown’s River, as well as other bulkheading projects at or near the town’s facilities at the river, a town spokesperson said Monday.

This dredging project will also establish a maintenance schedule in an effort to maintain safe navigation for vessels through the marina. The extent of that maintenance will be determined by recommendations from the town’s consultant and budgets at that time, the spokesperson said.

The town will receive funds through Senate 122 Program funding, a NYSDOT-funded program that provides capital assistance for transportation, infrastructure and economic development, the spokesperson said.

Town representatives in February stated that Brown’s River is “a federally recognized navigation channel,” thus the dredging of the waters falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

When asked when the dredging is expected to take place, the spokesperson said that the town is “currently working with Suffolk County, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and United States Army Corps of Engineers to finalize the plans for this project. This is still in process.”

One of those partners is congressman Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville), who has also requested federal funding to dredge the river. Garbarino said Tuesday that his offices are expected to file a request for between $500,000 and $1 million in federal money to assist the Town with the dredging process.

“This is really a joint task force between the Town, the State and the federal government,” Garbarino said. “We’re all trying to get this done, because we all know how badly this needs to be completed.”

Park records indicate the last dredging was completed around 2005, the town spokesperson said.

Islip Town previously hired engineering firm P.W. Grosser Consulting to remove spoil and in March 2020, officials approved an amendment with the firm to perform “necessary services” related to dredging the marinas at the Brown’s River estuary.

Community members previously expressed concern with the environmental impact on the compiled spoil in the water. James Bertsch, Sayville Creek Defender for Save the Great South Bay, said he is “extremely appreciative” of Garbarino’s upcoming request for federal money.

“It's an urgent matter for environmental, public safety and commercial reasons. It's been nearly 14 years since we last dredged. Ferries are barely making it out of the river at low tide,” Bertsch said.

Further, Bertsch said Brown’s River serves as an economic engine for the local economy, as it “provides jobs and an influx of revenue vital to our livelihood as a community.”

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