PortNews2004_3 by chrstphr

VIEWS: 91 PAGES: 4

									Passenger Terminal Update With a federal grant and local funds, the city and HDC will soon begin construction on a $1 million, 8,500-square foot passenger terminal at State Pier to support passenger ferry service. The HDC received a federal grant for more than $700,000 to construct the passenger terminal and to improve berthing at the New Bedford Ferry Terminal.

The local match for the grant will come from parking lot revenues. The terminal will feature a waiting area, ticketing facilities, restrooms, and administrative offices. Work also will include utility improvements; structural improvements to separate passenger operations from freight activities; and minor modifications to the existing ferry berth. Food service and retail spaces have been set aside within the terminalIn the spring, the HDC will go out for bids for construction and use of those sites. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation also has made available $480,000 for additional repairs to the State Pier facility to be conducted while the terminal construction is underway. This federal/state/local partnering effort will provide significant cost savings to the state. The HDC hired several consulting firms, including ENSR International, Mount Vernon Group Architects, and Pare Engineering Corporation, for engineering and design of the passenger terminal and berthing improvements. The HDC has received construction bids for the renovation/conversion of approximately one quarter of the existing twostory warehouse structure into a passenger terminal. The HDC submitted the construction bid package to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Construction (EOTC) for review and approval. The HDC anticipates an EOTC approval and agreement to be in place soon and expects to begin work in March. Fishing Vessel Berthing Dockage Fees Increased The HDC has increased dockage fees for commercial fishing vessels at city piers. The new annual berthing fee is $10 per foot of vessel length, with a minimum charge of $500. The registered and/or documented length of the vessel will be used to determine the fee. The daily dockage rate also has been increased to $50 a day. Even at the new dockage rate, the city's berthing fees are among the lowest in Massachusetts. The fee hike is necessary to cover increased operating costs and to prepare for planned pier expansions and utility improvements, such as signage and lighting. The fee increase also is needed to cover the costs of cleaning up illegal oil disposal on the piers. The last increase in berthing fees at New Bedford piers was in 1996. The HDC will issue 2004 annual dockage invoices in March, which will reflect the new fee rates. The fee increase will affect approximately 250 commercial fishing vessels. Permit Requirements Reminder HDC regulations require proof of insurance and active fishing status for vessels to receive dockage permits. Required documentation may include: copies of insurance policies, valid state or federally issued commercial fishing licenses, the vessel's fishing history for the previous two years, trip landing records, and the number of days-at-sea that the vessel is authorized to use each year.

Proposed Mooring Fields and Regulations Under state law, the HDC issues mooring permits and regulates the placement of moorings for vessels, floats,

rafts, and other bottom-anchored structures in city waters. To improve boating safety and to address increased demand for moorings, the HDC has developed plans for 10 moorings fields and drafted mooring regulations. The HDC plans to hold a public hearing in March on the proposed mooring fields and regulations. The proposed mooring fields are located in the vicinity of Niemiec Marine, Cozy Cove, Pope's Island Marina, Gifford Street Boat Ramp, Frederick Street, Aquidneck Street, Butler Flats, West Rodney French Boulevard, Clark's Cove, and Padanaram Avenue. The HDC has created several new mooring fields and re-organized existing fields, which will increase the number of mooring locations from 60 existing moorings to more than 400 potential mooring sites in city waters. The new mooring fields also will have more efficient layouts to improve access, maneuverability, and boating safety. The HDC will manage the mooring fields - issuing permits, overseeing placement of moorings, and enforcing regulations. The proposed mooring regulations will include requirements for permits, installation, and inspection/maintenance, as well as assignment procedures and mooring system specifications. The HDC currently is accepting applications for mooring permits. For more information, contact Rodney Avila at the HDC at 508/961-3000.

Cruise Ship Update HDC and city officials will attend the Seatrade Cruise Convention in Florida in March to promote the port as a cruise ship destination. Limited berthing time slots at State Pier are still available for the upcoming cruise season and the HDC will market those dates at the convention. This year, the city and HDC also will provide information at the convention about other Massachusetts harbors, including Plymouth and Gloucester. For the 2004 cruise season, the HDC has coordinated State Pier berthing and landside arrangements for American Cruise Lines, which has scheduled 19 port calls to New Bedford this year. American Cruise Lines has made the city a regular port of call since 2000. See the Cruise Ship Calls section of this web site for details.

Dredging Update Harbor Maintenance Dredging The HDC continues to work with state officials to secure funding for the next phase of maintenance dredging to support the port's commercial marine businesses. The HDC is ready to conduct Phase II priority dredging in four locations: in the southern channel approach to the Route 6 Bridge, at the salt terminal on Pope's Island, at Maritime Terminal, and at Bridge Terminal. Fairhaven also has completed a bathymetry survey along its central waterfront. The Seaport Advisory Council submitted a request to the Legislature for approximately $5 million for New Bedford/Fairhaven harbor dredging. At this time, the request is pending, while the Governor's Office determines bond funding levels and priorities for the fiscal year.

DMMP Approved The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (MCZM) recently published the Final Environmental Impact Report for its Dredge Material Management Plan (DMMP) for New Bedford Harbor, which was approved by the Environmental Affairs Secretary in December 2003. The HDC worked with MCZM, its consultants, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare the DMMP, which identifies disposal sites for maintenance dredging in New Bedford and Fairhaven. The DMMP recommends that sediment which is unsuitable for offshore disposal be placed in a Confined Aquatic Disposal (CAD) site in the harbor. (With a CAD, a trench is excavated in an appropriate area and dredged material is deposited and then capped in the trench.) In-harbor CAD cell dredge disposal provides significant savings to the city. The state and the city also could receive additional financial benefits by accepting in the CAD cell some of the less contaminated sediment from EPA's Superfund cleanup. The HDC has incorporated the DMMP recommendations into its Phase II dredging project. Preliminary designs for two subaqueous dredge disposal sites north of Fish Island have been completed. Preparation of the CAD cells will be one of the first dredging tasks to be undertaken when funding

has been secured. Federal Navigation Project The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) has received funding to begin evaluation studies for dredging to restore federally authorized channel depths in New Bedford/Fairhaven Harbor. The Army Corps will conduct sediment sample studies and geotechnical surveys to assess conditions in the harbor. The city has sponsored an economic (cost benefit) analysis, which is nearing completion. The analysis will be submitted to the Army Corps to document the economic benefits of federal dredging. In 2002, the HDC dredged portions of the federal channel during its first phase of maintenance dredging. The HDC's Phase II dredging also will include limited sections of the federal project areas. However, most of the federal navigation channels have not been dredged in more than 30 years. These areas remain highly silted and require dredging to restore the authorized project dimensions. News Notes Port Security: With a federal port security grant, the Seaport Advisory Council sponsored physical risk assessments in New Bedford, Fall River, Salem, and Gloucester in December 2003. A final report is expected in April. The HDC recently met with the Council to discuss preliminary findings of the assessment. The risk assessment provided professional verification and expansion of internal harbor security assessments. The preliminary findings support security improvements identified by the HDC and the city, including controlled access to piers, improved lighting, and video surveillance. The risk assessment may be used by the city, HDC, or the Seaport Council to apply for additional federal grants to implement recommendations and improve security on the piers. In a related matter, security plans for facilities on the New Bedford waterfront have been submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard, as required under new maritime security regulations. Specifically, plans have been submitted for State Pier, Maritime Terminal, and Global Petroleum Terminal. The plans currently are under review. Working Waterfront Festival: The first annual Working Waterfront Festival is scheduled for September 24 - 26 on the New Bedford waterfront. The event will celebrate commercial fishing and the lives, skills, and traditions of people who work on the waterfront. Activities include fishing boat and other vessel tours, demonstrations of boat and fishing skills, artistic performances, seafood preparation, and sampling of seafood dishes. Project supporters include the City of New Bedford and the HDC, Fisherman's Family Assistance Center, Global Learning Charter School, Massachusetts Fisherman's Partnership, National Council for the Traditional Arts, New Bedford Seafood Coalition, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, Offshore Mariner's Wives Association, Schooner Ernestina Commission, Shore Support, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Other local organizations, marine businesses, and individuals also support the event. Project organizers currently are seeking donations, which they note are tax deductible. For more information, contact Laura Orleans, Project Director, at 508/993-8894. Reuse of State Pier: Since re-deployment of the U.S. Coast Guard cutters from New Bedford State Pier to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard last fall, the city, HDC, and Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation have been exploring options to reuse the vacant south berths and shoreside support facilities at State Pier for appropriate marine uses. Options include berthing for charter/excursion vessels and increased berthing for cruise ships. However, additional market surveys and analyses of uses and potential tenants are needed. The city also has requested an agreement with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to operate State Pier, which would allow the city to more effectively market the site. At this time, the city's request is pending. Ocean Policy Task Force: HDC executive director, John A. Simpson, has been participating on the Massachusetts Ocean Management Task Force on behalf of The City of New Bedford. The task force has been reviewing current laws and regulations and examining data about natural resources in the state's ocean waters to

develop a new ocean management approach. The task force intends to submit recommendations for statutory and regulatory changes to the Environmental Affairs Secretary in March.


								
To top