CHESAPEAKE BEACH, Md. (January 13, 2019)—The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has delivered its Fiscal Year 2019 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program to Congress. The Fishing Creek dredging project in Chesapeake Beach, originally allocated only $10,000 in FY2019 budget, will now receive $1.36M under the Army Corps of Engineer Work Plan.
The Fishing Creek channel serves over 6,500 public boat ramp accesses annually. The channel is accessible to the public through 6 public boat ramps with over 70 boat trailer parking spaces for general public use owned by the Town. The Fishing Creek channel serves over 20 commercial charter boats capable of chartering over 300 patrons at a single point in time and serves as a vital point of access and a Federal navigation channel for the United States Navy.
"The Town of Chesapeake Beach is honored to receive increased funding for Fishing Creek providing its continued use as a vital channel within the Town, the State and the Nation. This allocation of funding would not be possible without the support of Congressman Steny Hoyer, Senator Chris Van Hollen and Senator Ben Cardin, who have worked to keep Chesapeake Beach on the list of priorities to support maintenance, and related activities, at the Nation's most heavily used coastal ports and inland waterways," Chesapeake Beach Mayor Patrick J. "Irish" Mahoney stated in appreciation.
According to the Town's Engineer, Paul Woodburn, "If the dredging were not to occur, Fishing creek would not be passable for nearly all boats; including recreational boats, commercial charter boats, the Fire Departments life safety boat, the Navy pier boats and the creek would no longer be a "safe harbor" for our citizens during major storm events." A partial dredge of the channel was completed in 2017 moving approximately 2,260 cubic yards of dredge yield to the Town's permitted containment facility. The 2017 partial dredging of the channel was primarily funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Waterway Improvement Fund with a portion of the funding contributed by the Town of Chesapeake Beach.
According to Captain Drew Payne, who has operated his charter business out of Fishing Creek for most of the last 20 years, news of the incoming Federal monies earmarked for Fishing Creek dredging has been well received by all Captains. During the Fall of 2018, Captain Drew's 52-foot charter boat ran aground in the Fishing Creek entrance more than a few times during winddriven low tides. "My boat requires 5 feet of water to float, and not being able to sail creates an immediate impact on my business. I'm sure that all Captains operating out of this Creek will join me in thanking the Town Mayor and staff for their efforts in securing these dredging funds. Dredging Fishing Creek entrance can't happen soon enough," according to Captain Drew.
The Town received a recent update from the Army Corp of Engineers Project coordinator regarding the plans for the FY19 $1.36M in funds. The FY19 funds will be used for rehabilitation of the south jetty as the first phase of the dredging project to mitigate the urgency and frequency of dredging the creek. The FY19 funds remaining, after the first phase of the project, will go toward the maintenance dredging with additional funding considerations taking place for the FY2020 budget.
Fishing Creek Inlet on marinas.com