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Westfield To Receive Money For Dredging

Chautauqua County legislators will discuss reimbursing the town of Westfield’s costs to dredge part of Barcelona Harbor earlier this year.

The Lake Erie Management Commission approved a resolution in March to co-fund Westfield’s effort to dredge 5,000 cubic yards of sediment from the Barcelona Harbor inlet to make sure the harbor is accessible and usable for recreational boating and sportsfishing this year.

On Wednesday members of the legislature’s Planning and Economic Development Committee will discuss using money from a previously approved capital project approved for the Lake Erie Management Commission to pay the LEMC’s pledge toward Westfield’s dredging program.

Earlier this year, U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand called on the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to direct available funding toward an emergency dredging of Barcelona Harbor in the town of Westfield. Barcelona Harbor is a federal navigation channel, but the sediment in its channel has made it useless as a harbor of refuge and diminishes the area’s usefulness for boating and fishing.

“Barcelona Harbor is an economic lifeline for the surrounding community, but recent sediment accumulation has created significant concerns about continued operations, making it all the more vital for the Army Corp of Engineers to prioritize dredging the federally-maintained waterway,” Schumer said in a statement. “The harbor is one of the few safe harbor marinas along the Lake Erie shoreline, making its availability all the more important as a critical refuge for boaters. This vital body of water must be returned to its fully functioning depth and condition ASAP so the local community can breathe a little easier and use the harbor to its upmost potential, both for business and recreation.”

An Army Corps of Engineers project is unlikely to take place in 2021, according to the resolution introduced in the county legislature.

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