Wicked Local Wenham reported on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to prioritize a proposed project to improve the flow of the Miles River.
By Tim McCarthy
Local politicos are hoping a visit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to Hamilton - along with a multimillion dollar construction project - will get the Miles River flowing once more.
State Rep. Brad Hill and Senator Bruce Tarr, at a Board of Selectmen meeting in late May, said a proposed project to improve the flow of the Miles River by the USACE has “moved up in the list” of priorities.
Specifically, the federal funds are available for a feasibility study, Hill said, which would help the USACE determine how willing they are to commit to dredging and dam destruction project, likely to cost around $10 million and take three years.
Hill said the USACE will make a decision to commit to the study by late September.
“I hate to tell people we’re on a list and our number on the list, but we’re very close to the top,” Hill said.
But before the USACE will take on the study, Hill said they’ll be seeking advocacy from the four communities impacted by the still waters of the Miles River - Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich, and Beverly.
Tarr added any support may also include a demand for matching funds or services “in kind trade.”
The selectmen agreed to find a representative for Hamilton in the coming months.
According to the Ipswich River Watershed Association, the Miles River is a major tributary of the Ipswich River, flowing from its source in Beverly through extensive wetlands before reaching the Ipswich River. Ongoing issues with the site have included low flow, due in part to natural and unnatural dams, as well as high levels of fertilizer nutrients from surface runoff.
Tarr, Hill, and others advocated a decade ago for a USACE study alongside the so called Miles River Collaborative.