PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management announces that an $87,000 grant has been awarded to the City of East Providence for the removal of two derelict barges that have been sunken in the Providence River for many years. Funding for the grant is being provided through Derelict and Abandoned Vessel and Obstruction Removal Account.
The Account and the Derelict and Abandoned Vessel and Obstruction Removal Commission were established by Rhode Island General Law in 2012. The Commission is chaired by Chief Steven Hall of DEM's Division of Law Enforcement. The five-member commission reviews and scores applications from harbormasters and other authorized public entities, and then recommends projects for funding to DEM Director Janet Coit. The proposal from East Providence was submitted during the first round of grant applications which were due on July 1 and subsequently evaluated by the Commission in August.
"Abandoned and derelict vessels, including the two barges sunken in the Providence River, pose a hazard to navigation," noted DEM Director Janet Coit. "We are pleased to award the City of East Providence with the funds needed to remove and dispose of these navigational obstructions. Rhode Island boaters will reap the benefits of cleaner and more attractive waterways, thanks to this new grant program."
The two barges are resting on bottom of the Providence River on Greenjacket Shoals off of Bold Point in East Providence. They are a navigation hazard as well as an eyesore to people visiting the area. The City of East Providence is partnering with CLEANBAYS to complete the removal and disposal of the barges. The vessels will be removed to the mud-line and CLEANBAYS will attempt to recycle any salvageable wood and dispose of unsalvageable wood. The contractor will also provide complete photographic documentation – before, after and underwater photography – of the vessels and the worksite.
Funding for Derelict and Abandoned Vessel Removal Account grants comes from a surcharge added to boat registration fees. The grants reimburse municipalities and other public agencies for costs associated with removing, disposing and/or selling derelict and abandoned vessels and other obstructions in the tidal waters and tidal lands of the state.
An abandoned vessel is any vessel that is left unattended or has remained illegally on public property, including docks, boat launching ramps, or moorings for more than 45 days. This includes any vessel that has been found adrift and in a condition of disrepair as to constitute a hazard or obstruction to the use of the waters and submerged lands of the state, or presents a potential health or environmental hazard. Owners of abandoned vessels include those that are known and located but unwilling to take control of the vessel, as well as those that are unknown or cannot be located.
A derelict vessel is a vessel whose owner is known and can be located, and who is able to exert control of a vessel that has been moored, anchored, or otherwise left in the waters or submerged lands of the State or on public property contrary to the rules adopted by an authorized public entity; is sunk or in danger of sinking; is obstructing a waterway; and/or is endangering life or property.
The Commission accepts applications for reimbursement at any time during the year with non-emergency applications considered twice annually on July 1 and November 1. Following the close of the November 1 application period, the Commission will meet and evaluate the applications submitted for the next grant round.
The application form is available on DEM's website at http://www.dem.ri.gov/abvessel.htm. Completed applications may be sent to: Derelict and Abandoned Vessel and Obstruction Removal Commission, c/o Division of Law Enforcement, Department of Environmental Management, 235 Promenade Street, Providence, R.I. 02908. They may also be submitted electronically to: DEM.EnforcementChief@dem.ri.gov.