Restoring the Tilghman Island Waterways
On top of blue waters in Knapps Narrows near Tilghman Island, noisy yellow and red machines were busy dredging. However further down at the Tilghman Island Marina, it was anything but, save for business owner, Ron Cicero.
“Restaurants and tourism on the island has declined dramatically over the years,” Cicero said. He adds that the blocked channel has stopped many boaters and tourists from visiting Tilghman Island, suffocating his business by nearly 50 percent.
“Everybody’s down about the same. It’s affected everybody,” Cicero said.
However, now a week into dredging, the US Army Corps of Engineers is planning to dredge about 100,000 cubic yards of material. Crews on the west side of the channel on Monday dropped a blue pipeline and sucked up dirt and water – pumping it out later to a nearby farm.
“Hopefully this will bring business back to those people,” Jeff Harrison, President of the Talbot County Watermen’s Association, said.
In fact, Harrison says, like businesses, watermen like him have been hurting too. Some areas during low tide, he says, are only about a foot deep, forcing boats to turn around.
“It can take a lot longer to get to your crab pots or your nets,” Harrison said.
With the $1.4 million project underway, he and Cicero say they’re ready for things to change.
“Getting back to where we need to be – business operational,” Cicero said.
The US Army Corps of Engineers says the project is slated to finish in May before Memorial Day weekend.