Efforts begin to address issues with Lake Erie shoreline

Submitted photo Proof Project, LLC and Anchor QEA scientists take measurements and survey Dunkirk’s inner harbor.

A team of scientists recently toured Dunkirk’s Lake Erie shoreline, marking the start of planning for actions to ease wave action and sediment accumulation.

The scientists from Proof Project LLC and Anchor QEA toured the lakefront from the water. They used the Dunkirk Fire Department’s new boat, piloted by Capt. Gary Katta.

Mike Przybycien, deputy director of Dunkirk’s Department of Public Works; Vince DeJoy, city planning and development director; and the Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District’s Cassandra Pinkoski were aboard to provide historical context about the shoreline and marina.

A $4.75 million appropriation for offshore breakwaters at Dunkirk Harbor, intended to soothe sedimentation and wave action problems along Lakefront Boulevard, was added to a federal spending bill this year by Sen. Charles Schumer. The tour marks a key step in the planning process.

Schumer visited the harbor in 2022 to announce funding for dredging. During that visit, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas asked Schumer for additional funding to construct the breakwall.

According to DeJoy’s office, “The overarching goal of this project is to incorporate the social and economic uses of the harbor into the traditional understanding of the environmental ecosystem and built-in infrastructure. Proof Projects will develop nature-based solutions that work with natural systems to find responses to coastal challenges of energy, sedimentation, and habitat loss in ways that maintain harbor function and enhance the cultural and ecological value that these coastal landscapes provide.”

Funding for the scientists’ analysis this week came from the state’s SeaGrant program, Lake Erie Watershed Protection Alliance, and Chautauqua County’s 3% hotel bed tax.


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