FOLLOWING SCHUMER PUSH, FEDERAL FUNDING BILL WILL INCLUDE $1.285M TO FULLY DREDGE OSWEGO HARBOR; IN MARCH SCHUMER URGED FED APPROPRIATORS TO ALLOCATE FUNDING TO KEEP OSWEGO HARBOR NAVIGABLE BECAUSE IT IS CRITICAL FOR SAFETY & LOCAL ECONOMY
Despite the Fact that Dredging Is Needed Every 3-4 Years for Oswego Harbor to Maintain a State of Good Repair, The Last Major Dredging Has Not Occurred Since 2008; Schumer Successfully Secured Funding in This Budget To Fully Dredge Harbor for First Time in Nearly 7 Years
Schumer Secures Fed Funding for Oswego As Part of FY2016 Omnibus Budget Bill, Paving Way for Major Harbor Dredging Project
Schumer: Federal Budget Has Early Christmas Gift for Oswego Harbor
Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that federal appropriators have heeded his request, and included $1,285,000 in federal funding to fully dredge the Port of Oswego’s Harbor in the budget agreement announced today. This funding had been requested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in its Fiscal Year 2016 Civil Works Budget and Schumer fought this year to make it a reality in final budget agreement announced today. In March Schumer urged the federal appropriators in charge of approving these funds to include $1.285M in funding in the upcoming budget negotiations. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, a full dredging is recommended every three to four years, and although the harbor was dredged in 2014 to address sediment specifically caused by Superstorm Sandy, the Port of Oswego has not been on a routine dredging schedule since 2008, even though a routine dredge will enable the harbor to continue serving as a vital passageway for the City of Oswego, which greatly relies on a clear harbor to generate nearly $7.2 million annually in recreational benefits and support more than 111 local jobs. Schumer said keeping the port dredged is also critical for public safety and for the regional economy. Schumer said keeping this harbor maintained will ensure that Upstate New York and the entire Great Lakes region will continue to see the benefits associated with Oswego Harbor in the years to come.
“After nearly 7 years of waiting for a full dredging, Christmas has finally come for the Oswego Harbor. The Oswego Harbor plays a key role in the local economy, and keeping this critical channel navigable and maintained will lead to continued commercial and recreational activity and growth. That is why I pushed federal appropriators so hard to allocate the funding the Army Corps needs to fully dredge the harbor on schedule for the first time since 2008,” said Schumer. “Keeping this harbor dredged will not only clear the way for commerce, it will also clear the way for increased job creation and economic development. Doing this will ensure that the Oswego area continues to reap the benefits of this harbor for years to come.”
Schumer explained that the Army Corps requested nearly $1.3 million for dredging the Oswego Harbor in their FY 2016 Civil Works Budget. The harbor was last dredged in 2014, when 71,000 cubic yards of material were removed following Hurricane Sandy, but it is in need of additional dredging to remain clear for commerce and recreation. Schumer explained that the Oswego Harbor is a major driver of revenue and tourism, particularly when it comes to recreation. Oswego Harbor is home to 536 recreational slips, 6 boat launch lanes, and 29 charter boats. The Port of Oswego generates approximately $7.2 million annually in recreational economic benefits.
According to the Army Corps, if the harbor is not dredged, there would be a reduction of the bulk commodities that pass through the harbor that generate an annual $38 million in direct commercial revenue and support 517 direct, indirect, and induced jobs that produce over $43 million per year in personal. Schumer explained that if the harbor is not dredged, companies that use the harbor will be forced to transport goods and products by truck, increasing both costs and emissions levels and decreasing the level of safety. It is estimated that losses of between three and four feet of channel depth would result in increased transportation costs of between $43,000 and $154,000 annually.
Schumer also said keeping the harbor dredged is important for safety reasons. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains a station in Oswego that performs search and rescue, law enforcement, and homeland security duties. Approximately 72,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged every three to four years from the harbor for it to keep pace. Schumer said a full dredging is needed in 2016 to keep this vital passageway clear for economic development and safety purposes.
A copy of Senator Schumer’s original letter to the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee appears below:
Dear Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein:
I write to request that you include $1,285,000 for dredging Oswego Harbor in your FY 2016 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill. The Army Corps requested $1,285,000 for this harbor in their FY 2016 Civil Works Budget, and I urge you to maintain that level in the upcoming Energy and Water Development funding legislation.
It is vital that the Army Corps receives the money it needs to dredge Oswego Harbor. Oswego Harbor is a major receiving and shipping port on the Great Lakes, handling various commodities including petroleum, cement, chemicals, ores, and minerals. The harbor is home to 536 recreational slips, six boat launch lanes, and 29 charter boats; it generates recreational economic benefits totaling nearly $7.2 million and supports 111 jobs. If the harbor is not dredged, there will be a reduction of the bulk commodities that pass through the harbor and generate $38 million in direct revenue while supporting 517 direct, indirect, and induced jobs that produce over $43 million per year in personal income.
Approximately 72,000 cubic yards of material must be dredged from Oswego Harbor every three to four years. The harbor was last routinely dredged in 2008, when 71,000 cubic yards of material was removed. Sandy supplemental, from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, funded the dredging of storm-impacted areas in summer 2014. However, according to the Army Corps, additional material must be dredged in order to maintain the functional harbor areas. It is estimated that losses of between three and four feet of channel depth would result in increased transportation costs of between $43,000 and $154,000 annually.
Thank you for your consideration of this important request. The Oswego Harbor plays a key role in the regional economy; keeping this harbor navigable and maintained will ensure that Upstate New York and the greater Great Lakes region will continue to see the benefits associated with Oswego Harbor in the years to come.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator