A Shark River Dredging project gets a visit from local and Federal officials in Belmar. New Jersey 6th District (D) Representative Frank Pallone, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Belmar Officials as well as Recreational Fishing advocates observed the maintenance dredging of the Shark River Inlet Monday which began on June 20th.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager Ed Wrocenski says Army Corps Government Hopper Dredge Currituck is working around-the-clock to remove 30,000-cubic-yards of sediment from the Federal Channel for eleven days. He says the sand will be placed in detention basins north of the Jetties up in the Avon-By-The-Sea near-shore area, in 12 to 14 feet of water.

Wrocenski says "the purpose of the project is to restore the federal channel to the authorized dimensions for the navigational safety for all the users of the inlet." He says the work is scheduled for completion on June 30th.

Congressman Pallone says the dredging has to be conducted annually to prevent the buildup of sediment along the critical passage way. A passage way that he says is important to the economic health of the region. "I mean, Belmar Marina over there, which has all the party boats and the recreational boats. I mean, if they can't get out ... then that industry dies." He says the inlet is also the way out for the Coast Guard that has a station based in Avon.

Captain Joe Gahrmann of Sykk Physh Sport Fishing travels in and out of the Shark River Inlet with his Catamaran. He says dredging the inlet is simply a matter of safety. "It's safe passage in an out of the harbor. If the inlet gets shoaled up, the waves become bigger, boats start to run aground. It's a safety issue".

$495,000 for FY 2012 was allocated for the Dredging project.  Pallone says the money comes from the Energy and Water Appropriations bill. He says they're now working on FY 2013. He says that bill passed the house with another $400,000 for next year's dredging project. It hasn't passed the Senate yet but Pallone is confident that it will pass and be signed into law.