Updated: Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 6:59 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 6:04 PM EDT
STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- The Housatonic River hasn't been dredged since the 70's and the Tropical Storm Irene created more problems with sand deposits and in some places, the river is only two feet deep. Change was needed, and that wish will finally be granted.
For more than a decade, Bill Rock has stared out onto the Housatonic River, enjoying it's beauty, yet worried about it's future.
"This is my love. This is what I spend my time doing," Rock said. "Having been born here in Stratford, I know a lot about the Housatonic River. I actually navigated it as a kid, I've seen it change over the years."
It's about to change again. Rock, chairman of Stratford's Waterfront and Harbor Management Commission, has worked for 13 years to get the river much needed dredging and it will happen next week.
"It's very important to dredge the river, because the river over the years has changed direction, changed shape, change locations because of the fact of the sediment that comes down 149 miles above here."
50,000 cubic yards of sand will be removed from the Route 1 bridge to the mouth of the river in Stratford. The sand will be dumped off of Stratford's Long Beach West, possibly revitalizing the beach. The hope is it will ease navigation, while sparking economic development at the same time.
"The towns of Shelton, Derby, Ansonia, Milford, Orange, Stratford, the river has a very big impact. It's an important resource," Bob Gesullo said.
Gesullo, with the River Estuary Commission, says this is a big first step, but only a step to a bigger goal.
"That effort has to be bigger, we're only touching parts of it," Gesullo said.
It's a $750k start to revitalize an old love.
"The waterfront is a passion of mine," Gesullo said.