Rep. Zeldin Joined By Local Electeds, Small Businesses, Boaters & Fishermen in Calling for Emergency Dredge of Long Island Intracoastal Waterway, Moriches Bay & Inlet
CENTER MORICHES, NY - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) was joined by local elected officials, small business owners, boaters, fishermen, and other stakeholders at the Moriches Yacht Club in Center Moriches, calling on the Army Corps of Engineers to undertake an immediate emergency dredging of the Long Island Intracoastal Waterway, Moriches Bay and Moriches Inlet in light of several winter storms that have pummeled area waterways and significantly worsened navigation conditions.
After the press conference, Congressman Lee Zeldin joined local fishermen and Captain Joe Tangel, owner and operator of KING COD Fishing in Moriches, to survey firsthand the dangerous navigation conditions of the intracoastal, bay and inlet.
Congressman Lee Zeldin said, “The Army Corps of Engineers must undertake an emergency dredging of the Long Island Intracoastal Waterway, Moriches Inlet, and Moriches Bay without delay. The urgency of this issue is now greater than ever due to dangerous navigational conditions created by extreme shoaling. These waterways are vital arteries for our vibrant coastal economy of marinas, restaurants, recreational boaters, commercial fishermen, and all of the small businesses that support these industries. Increasingly unsafe navigational conditions are becoming a greater threat each and every day. Failure to dredge these vital waterways will not only cause economic hardship and create a public safety crisis, but will bring about significant environmental issues.”
Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine said, “This bay needs to be dredged. The Intracoastal Waterway needs to be dredged and if anyone has seen the pictures that inlet will close up. We need to keep that inlet open. We need the Army Corps of Engineers to do an emergency dredging. We need the New York State DEC to cooperate with the Army Corps, and we need to get this done now.
New York State Assemblyman Dean Murray said, “It is important that we work together on all levels of government to show that we need to get going right away. We all have to come together to get this done as quickly as possible.“
Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore said, “Thank you Congressman Zeldin for being our voice on this very important issue. It is critical that we get this done for boater safety, for our commercial fishermen, and for our local economy.”
Owner of KING COD Fishing Joe Tangel, “I’m a full-time year round fisherman who supports a family of four transiting Moriches Inlet close to 200 times a year. I have been fishing out of Moriches for over 20 years. In that time, I have seen the inlet change many times. After the past three nor’easters over the past month, this inlet is in the worst shape i have ever seen it in my entire lifetime of fishing. With the recreational boating season fast approaching, emergency dredging action is required immediately. My greatest fear is loss of boats this season, loss of property, and imminent death. The economic harm these conditions will cause will be widespread throughout this community. The conditions threaten the livelihood of eight large private marinas, three full-time passenger carrying fishing vessels, numerous commercial operations, and tackle shops.”
Commercial Fisherman Captain Eddie Chiofolo said, “I’ve been here all my life. I’ve fished Moriches Bay since I was 4-years-old. Moriches Bay is in the worst shape I’ve ever seen it in my entire life. It’s impassable. We need this inlet dredged immediately. There’s $15-20 million in recreational economic value that comes in and out of Moriches. The Army Corps has to step up and do something.”
On Thursday, March 15th, Congressman Zeldin called for an emergency dredge of the Long Island Intracoastal Waterway, Moriches Bay and Moriches Inlet in a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, following a meeting on the issue Thursday morning with Colonel Thomas Asbery, Commander of the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.