Category Archives: Port Dredging

Blocked Water Channel

Getting Rid of a Blocked Water Channel Once and For All

Tilghman Island Rich History

Tilghman Island is nestled in the heart of Talbot County, Maryland. Formerly referred to as the “Great Choptank Island,” the island is only 3 miles long (4.83 kms) and a 1 mile (1.60 kms) wide.  According to historians, the first English settlers arrived over 360 years ago in 1656.

During the early 19th century, two parcels of land were sold to a group of oysterman. The group wanted the land for its close proximity to the prime harvesting grounds that surround Tilghman Island.  Today, over 1,000 thousand residents live on the island. A majority of the residence make their living by crabbing, fishing, and oyster or seafood packing.

Tilghman Island Worst Nightmare – A Blocked Water Channel

Throughout the its recent history, severe thunderstorms and eroding waterways have caused sediment, clay, mud, silt, sand, and shells to build up, blocking  the Knapps Narrows access channel to the Choptank River. Consequently, the Knapps not only shortens the route around the end of the island by over five miles (8kms), it is the home port for dozens of fishing and crabbing vessels. In some locations, depths have been reported as low as a 1 foot (0.30m) during low tide.

The blocked channel is preventing Tilghman Island businesses from thriving.  Several business owners have lost nearly 50 percent of their business.  Ron Cicero, the owner of Tilghman Island Marina and Rentals, said that the impact has been felt by everyone. “Restaurants and tourism on the island have declined dramatically over the years.” Cicero also added that boaters and tourists  are staying away from the island because of the blocked channel.  With so many declining businesses struggling to survive the local economy has suffered.  As a result, residents took matters into their own hands, and started searching for answers to their problems several months ago.

WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 –

Solution to the Problem—Hydraulic Dredging

Residence can now breathe a sigh of relief. The US Army Corp of Engineers in conjunction with various branches of the Federal Government, Maryland State Government, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Talbot County government have agreed to allow crews to dredge approximately 100,000 cubic yd3 (914,40 m3) of material.

Workers are using an Ellicott Series 970 Dragon Dredge to clear the channel. The Hydraulic dredge is ideal for this specific job.  To summarize things, the dredeges’ cutterhead  will remove the debris found in the river.  The dredge will then pump the discharge efficiently to a distant location. In fact, we are already a week into dredging, and crews have dropped a blue pipeline on the west side of the Choptank River. Now the dredges are sucking up dirt and water – pumping it out of the river to a nearby farm.

The project is expected to cost approximately $1.4 million and will be done by Memorial Day weekend.

Sand Shifter

Who Else Wants a Cool Custom-Built Dredge?

Residents of Barnstable County, Massachusetts waited patiently for the newly minted Sand Shifter Dredge to arrive.  Well their wait is finally over. The brand new $2 million dredge built by Ellicott Dredges of Maryland has  finally reached Falmouth Harbor. Everyone is really excited about the project. In fact, harbor officials are ready to unveil their brand new aquatic masterpiece to the general public.

The Sand Shifter to Undergo One Final Test

A team of representatives from Ellicott Dredges are performing preliminary tests this week.  Our team is working around the clock to make sure that everything is in working  order before turning possession of the dredge over to county officials.

“They (Ellicott) have been awesome to work with,” said interim Assistant County Administrator Stephen Tebo, while speaking to reporters last week. Tebo, explained  the complex details of the work involved when constructing a custom-built dredge.  The Sand Shifter is a one of kind vessel that requires immense attention to detail.

Why the Sand Shifter is Severely Needed

Falmouth Harbor was built in 1907, when an inlet was sliced in the barrier beach to separate freshwater Deacon’s Pond from Nantucket Sound. Falmouth Harbor an ideal fishing spot for the casual angler. However, because the port is  used throughout the year, county commissioners voted to build a second dredge to pair with the Codfish. The Codfish, is an older Ellicott Series 670 Dragon dredge. Until recently  it was the only dredge used to maintain  Falmouth Harbor.

A second dredge is desperately needed because of the amount of work that occurs throughout the year. However, some projects can be potentially  delayed on occasion causing work to backup.  Initial plans include using both the Sand Shifter and Codfish to maintain Falmouth Harbor.  For now, each dredge will be positioned on both sides of the harbor, That is unless business increases, and projects begin to pile up,

The Sand Shifter will see its first action in less than two weeks. Discussions have centered around using the vessel to help clean up the Eel River in the nearby Cape Cod area.

State of the Art Technology

Stephen Bradbury, captain of the Sand Shifter, applauded the dredge’s new features and advanced technology while taking a stroll along the vessel with reporters. “It’s a completely new design,” he said comparing it with its predecessor, the Codfish.

The Sand Shifter possesses greater fuel efficiency. In addition, the vessel can  pump sediment at greater distances  The dredge also digs deeper and wider, allowing it to finish projects faster, Bradbury said.

Two Ellicott Dredges Working on Port Expansion Project in Latin America

Two Ellicott cutter suction dredges are currently being used in the expansion of a major port in Latin America. This is part of a project to increase the port’s container handling capacity and accommodate Post-Panamax vessels. The first Ellicott dredge, a Series 370 with a 12″ x 10″ (300 x 250 mm) pump and 440 HP (328 kW) of total installed power, has been working at this port for over six months. This 370 dredge was recently joined by a Series 670 dredge, with 14″x14″ (350 x 350 mm) pump and 800 HP (597 kW) of total power. Ellicott was recently able to capture aerial footage of the 670 Dragon dredge at the project site. Both dredges are currently at work deepening the berthing area for the new terminal.

The 370 and 670 are portable dredges, yet they are also rugged and reliable – ideal for all types of dredging applications including port dredging. They are the most powerful dredges in this size range.

Traditionally, port expansion projects such as this one are handled utilizing larger trailing suction hopper dredgers (TSHD) or other self-propelled dredging vessels. In certain cases, smaller, portable cutter suction dredges are a better solution due to their portability, availability, high production and relatively low cost. These advantages of a portable cutter suction dredge also apply to port maintenance dredging, especially when dredging has to be performed on a regular basis.

View additional drone footage of an Ellicott 1870 Dragon dredge being launched for another project in South America.