Cape Porpoise Harbor, usually dotted by lobster boats at their moorings, is quiet on a recent weekday morning as a dredging project, designed to  improve navigation in the harbor, continues. Tammy Wells Photo

CAPE PORPOISE — Dredging authorized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues in Cape Porpoise Harbor, but may be completed earlier than originally expected.

Harbormaster Chris Mayo said subject to weather and any other impediments, as he understands it, the project will be completed soon.

Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of sandy and fine-grained material will be dredged from the 6-foot channel and 15-foot anchorage and channel and placed at Cape Arundel Disposal Site, located approximately five nautical miles from the harbor, said Project Manager Coral Siligato of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers New England District in a news release issued by the Corps.

The dredging operation, which was expected to take between two and four months, began Nov. 1.

The harbor, usually dotted with boats at their moorings, was empty of vessels on a recent Wednesday.

Lobster fishermen and others who moor boats in the harbor are mooring them elsewhere, many in marinas along the Kennebunk River, until the dredging is complete and the Army Corps gives the all clear for them to return, said Mayo on Dec. 4.

Lobster fishermen still use Cape Porpoise Pier however, said Mayo, bringing their boats in to take bait aboard, to fuel up and to sell their catch.

The dredging was deemed necessary because natural shoaling processes have reduced available depths to as little as one foot in the 15-foot channel and anchorage, and to two feet in the 6-foot channel, making navigation hazardous or impossible at lower stages of the tide.

The 15-foot channel and anchorage will be dredged to a depth of 10-feet, allowing users to maintain safe navigation in these areas. The 6-foot channel will be dredged to authorized dimensions, plus allowable overdepth, according to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.

The most recent dredging of the harbor was in 1976 when a mechanical dredge removed approximately 123,000 cubic yards of sediment from the 15-foot channel, 15-foot anchorage, and 6-foot channel.

Coastline Consulting and Development, LLC of Branford, Connecticut, was awarded the $1.68 million contract in August.

The town of Kennebunkport made the request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that the work be done.

Phone calls to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting comment on the progress of the dredging operation were not immediately returned.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: