DNR Provides $100,000 Grant to Remove Sunken Barges on Wicomico River

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The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded Salisbury a $100,000 state Waterway Improvement Fund Grant to remove sunken barges and debris from the Wicomico River in Salisbury in an effort to help clean up the waterway and remove submerged obstacles to local boaters.

“Salisbury welcomes this generous grant from the State of Maryland in removing abandoned barges from the North Prong of the Wicomico River,” said Mayor James Ireton, Jr. “These barges pose threats to navigation on the river as well as potential sources of pollution in the river. Having dedicated our community to the health of this waterway, which will contribute to the health of the Chesapeake Bay, we stand ready to work with Governor Martin O’Malley, DNR and the Department of the Environment in this important undertaking.”

An underwater survey was recently completed by the City of Salisbury Fire Department’s Marine Division at the North Prong of the Wicomico River. During the survey, two submerged barges were found, one of which is about 150 feet long. In addition, other debris was detected including a possible submerged vehicle in the same area.

The City of Salisbury is currently in the process of completing the legal requirements and preparing a request for proposals for a contractor to remove the barges and debris from the river.

“The City of Salisbury is very excited about moving ahead with this project. Removing these barges and debris will both help to improve water quality in the area as well as eliminate hazards for the boating public,” said DNR Boating Services Director Bob Gaudette. “Once the contract is awarded, it is anticipated the project will take approximately two months to complete.”

DNR has a longstanding program to remove abandoned boats and debris that are hazardous to the environment and/or general boating public from state waterways. The program is financed by the Department’s Waterway Improvement Fund, the revenues of which come from the 5 percent vessel excise tax that is paid whenever a boat is titled in Maryland. Grants are provided to local governments who are delegated the authority by DNR to removal abandoned vessels from state waters.

Further information regarding DNR’s abandoned boat and debris removal program can be found at http://dnr.maryland.gov/mydnr/askanexpert/abandoned_boats.asp.

source: DNR press release

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