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Bishop Announces Funds Secured For 2011 Emergency Dredge Of Lake Montauk

Originally Posted: May 19, 2011

Montauk - Congressman Tim Bishop announced that $1,152,228 in federal funding has been secured for an emergency dredge of Lake Montauk in 2011. Bishop advocated strongly for the funding following reports that severe shoaling conditions were affecting commercial fishing operations in the harbor and could threaten the safety of mariners, including Coast Guardsmen stationed in Montauk.

"The jobs in New York's fishing industry and the economic health of Montauk depend on an accessible and safe Lake Montauk," said Bishop. "This emergency dredge is key to continuing the economic recovery in this area and also vital to the Homeland Security mission of the Coast Guard."

Bishop requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prioritize funding for an emergency dredge in February after observing conditions first-hand with East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Coast Guard Rear Admiral David A. Neptune, who commands the base at Montauk. Bishop and his staff held several meetings with Army Corps officials to make a case for quick action to alleviate the potentially dangerous situation.

"Our community is very grateful to the diligent efforts of Congressman Bishop, who spearheaded the emergency dredging effort as soon as local fishermen made him aware of the shoaling problem that was hurting our industry. He came to Montauk, saw the problem firsthand and found a way to help us," said Bonnie Brady, Executive Director, Long Island Commercial Fishermen's Association.

"The Town of East Hampton and the port of Montauk are indebted to Congressman Tim Bishop. Through his personal efforts, emergency dredging of the federal channel will take place in 2011. Without Tim Bishop's intervention and stewardship, ingress and egress for the port would continue to be threatened. This is just another example of the Congressman's outreach to the fishing communities and the entire East End," said East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson.

"I am thrilled that the critical maintenance dredging of Lake Montauk Harbor will be expedited. The unsafe and unacceptable condition of the inlet threatens safe navigation and the livelihood of our commercial fishing industry. I look forward to working with the various State departments to ensure permits are issued in a timely manner," said New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

"My job is to fight for Long Island's fair share of federal support to grow our economy and improve vital infrastructure, and I will continue to do so using any means at my disposal," said Bishop. Bishop said his successful advocacy effort was aided by knowledge he has gained from serving as the senior Democrat on the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which has jurisdiction over the Army Corps. Bishop joined the subcommittee when he joined Congress in 2003 and was named Ranking Member this year.

With funding approval, the dredging must be approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and is subject to the availability of appropriate equipment in the area. However, Bishop said the approval of funding clears a major hurdle to completing the work this calendar year. The USACE plans to place sand dredged out of the inlet to the west of the harbor's entrance to mitigate worsening erosion.

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