Congressman announces shoal harbor dredging project in Middletown

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MIDDLETOWN — Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), whose U.S. Congressional district includes a portion of Monmouth County, has announced a new dredging project of the Shoal Harbor navigation channel.

The funding will be used for maintenance dredging of approximately 160,000 cubic yards in the channel. Pallone secured $8 million for the project in a federal spending bill that was signed into law earlier this year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that 8,700 trips are made in the channel annually, according to a June 6 press release from Pallone’s office.

“I am proud to join local elected officials and members of New Jersey’s fishing industry to announce a major dredging project in Shoal Harbor. Our waterways are critical to our state’s commercial fishing and recreation industries, and this dredging will help ensure the waterway is safe and accessible for the Belford Fishing Co-Op and the commuter ferry,” said Pallone. “At a time when our state’s economy is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, this dredging will go a long way to help these industries thrive.”

“Any time we can improve the quality of life for our residents while also driving economic development is a win in my book,” Monmouth County Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone said.

“Monmouth County has always shown complete support for dredging projects such as this, that enhance recreation and provide resources for the fishing industry. It is our hope this project will also benefit many local small businesses, many of whom are still recovering financially from the pandemic,” Arnone said.

“We need the waters to be open and navigable to do our job. This project will help our boats get where they need to be. The pandemic hit New Jersey’s fishing industry hard, so the dredging project will help keep us operational,” said Captain Richard Isaksen, president of the Belford Seafood Cooperative.

“I want to thank Congressman Pallone for all he has done for our state and the fishing industry. He is always around to listen to our concerns and then follow up with action,” Isaksen said.