Living in Roxbury we are just a few miles from the headwaters of the East Branch of the Delaware river. This bearly navigable stream runs through town but as it flows south it becomes the might Delaware streaming with industry.
The controversy concerns dredging the river to increase the opportunity for more traffic and thus advance more commerce to boost regional economies. Here, economy and river ecology seems to be at odds with each other.
Sturgeon, horse shoe crabs, birds, oysters and groundwater will suffer most from dredging of the Delaware river while shipping industry reaps the benefits. Dredging projected to be finished by 2015. Here is an excerpt from
http://sandandgravel.com article and link:
“Voigt said the purpose of the project is to make shipping more efficient in the Delaware River by deepening the river from 40ft to 45ft. The dredging is currently underway between Philadelphia and the bottom of the Delaware Bay. The channel is 100 miles long, and the hope is larger and heavier ships will be able to navigate the channel, he said.
“The main beneficiary of the project is the shipping companies, and more specifically, container and dry bulk shipping companies,” Voigt said. “Oil tankers and companies will also benefit.”
In addition to the environmental risks, some people, such as Director of the New Jersey Sierra club Jeff Tittel, think the project benefits companies while pushing the cost off on the taxpayer.
UD Review said a big concern for Tittel is the dumping of dredge spoils on environmentally sensitive areas and beaches. As the project dredges the river, they pull up contaminated sediment, which affects the land it is displaced on, he said.
“When you take those dredge spoils and put them on the land, whatever chemicals are in them will leach out and get into the groundwater and potentially the drinking water,” Tittel said.
Many environmental advocacy groups in the region, including van Rossum’s Delaware Riverkeeper, have opposed the project from the outset due to the possible harmful effects on the Delaware watershed and the Delaware River wildlife.”