Study of Creek Navigability to Proceed This Year
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny Hoyer today announced that the Army Corps of Engineers will proceed immediately with the engineering and design phase of a dike system for dredged materials and the Environmental Assessment that must be completed prior to the actual maintenance dredging of St. Jerome Creek. Congressman Hoyer and Maryland's Senators, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski, helped to facilitate this arrangement so that the study could be expedited immediately.
"I am pleased that I was able to work with the Army Corps to reach an arrangement so that the Corps can expedite the dredging of St. Jerome Creek. The mouth of the Creek has filled in to the point where large boats cannot get in or out on low tides without scraping bottom," said Congressman Hoyer. "This Creek is an important waterway to St. Mary's County and improving its access will help those using the waterway to access the Chesapeake Bay for recreation, and for those who depend on the Creek for local business."
St. Jerome's Creek provides the only safe harbor between Point Lookout and the Patuxent River for boats on the Chesapeake Bay seeking shelter from rapidly approaching storms. Many residents of the Creek depend on access to the Chesapeake Bay for income, including watermen, and Charter boat operators. Dozens of Charter boats are housed in St. Jerome's Creek and leave daily during fishing season to go out into the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, the Creek is home to many homeowners and recreational boaters who must use the narrow mouth of this creek to access the Chesapeake Bay.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for the operation and maintenance of all federally chartered U.S. waterways, and the Corps must periodically dredge U.S. waterways like St. Jerome Creek in order to provide expanded access for watermen, charter boats, and recreational boaters. At the request of Congressman Hoyer and Senators Sarbanes and Mikulski, the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to expedite the St. Jerome Creek project by immediately performing the engineering and design phase of the dikes and performing the Environmental Assessment now, instead of waiting for the Congressional Appropriations.
Congressman Hoyer will continue to work with the Senators and with the Corps to secure funds to begin dredging the Creek as soon as possible.