The opening of the newly dredged channel in Neabsco Creek was recently made official with a ribbon cutting ceremony held on a pontoon boat on the creek waters leading to the Potomac River.
About a year ago, the U.S. Coast Guard closed the channel to boat traffic because silt and sediment in the channel made it too shallow for safe navigation. To get the channel back in shape, the Board of County Supervisors teamed up with the Virginia Port Authority and the newly formed Neabsco Creek, LLC, to get the dredging done.
The board authorized $725,325 in grant funding to dredge the creek, which is used by an estimated 1,000 boats docked and stored at four marinas along the creek. The Virginia Port Authority contributed $194,330 to the project, and Neabsco Creek LLC, a group of business owners along the creek, kicked in approximately $150,000 to dredge their marinas at the same time the channel was being dredged.
Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi said the project exemplified what can get done when governments work together alongside businesses. "This is really a model of public-private partnership at work here in Prince William County. We were able to bring people together to do the job that we needed to do. I think one of the most impressive things about the project itself was just how quickly we were able to accomplish what we set out to do."
A new marina is under construction and will open soon, and a boat rental company has recently expanded — all because of the dredging, Principi said. "This is quite a feat. Not only just to help the dozen or so businesses and the … jobs that we have here, but to also expand it? That's the real legacy of this project."
Prince William County Executive Chris Martino said the creek is a valuable resource to the county. "This is a tremendous asset we have here in the county, and it's good for us to have worked together like we did to open it up again and make it available for the public in so many different ways."
Principi said the dredging removed more than 20 tons of silt from the channel to provide for boater safety, commerce, jobs and the protection of the environment. The job was also completed in time for summer activities. "Boating season has launched here in Neabsco Creek, and I hope everybody will truly enjoy this special place we have here at Neabsco."