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Long-delayed dredging of Royal River in Yarmouth planned for fall

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Long-delayed dredging of Royal River in Yarmouth planned for fall

YARMOUTH — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has added the dredging of the Royal River to its 2014 work plan, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, announced Wednesday.

The Corps has budgeted $3 million for the project, which would remove silt from the river's harbor and increase its navigability at low tides.

"The Royal River is key to the working waterfront of Yarmouth and the shallower it's gotten the less useful it is for those who depend on it," Pingree said in a press release. "We've been pushing for this project for years and I'm glad that the money is finally there. The Corps has a big workload for this year, in part because of Hurricane Sandy, but I'm hopeful they will fit this project in sometime this year now that the money is there."

The Army Corps is responsible for dredging the river roughly every 10 years, but it hasn't been done since 1997.

Town Council Chairman Steve Woods said the Corps has been supportive and sympathetic of the town's plight, but as budgets have tightened, the bureaucratic process has simply delayed the project's time-line.

"It is a testament to the collaboration of Yarmouth town staff, the marina owners themselves, and our congressional delegation working together over the past year to make this happen," Woods said Wednesday. "As a coastal community, the Royal River is more than just an economic conduit. It is part of the lifeblood of the town. On behalf of the Town Council, we couldn't be happier with the way this is apparently turning out."

The work is expected to begin this fall.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or btwist@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.