KEANSBURG - Last cleared of shoals in 2014, Waacaack Creek Channel here is due for dredging that's scheduled to start December 12, according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).

Dead fish in Keansburg
Dead peanut bunker in Waackaack Creek in Keansburg. (NJ DEP)

Wickberg Marine Contracting is tasked with clearing silt buildup east of the Keansburg Flood Gate in the State Channel Dredging Maintenance Program.

The project has a cost estimate of $375,000. Crews are expected to work 10-hour days, Monday through Saturday, dredging to a depth of five feet, and moving approximately 6,000 cubic yards of buildup to the Keansburg Confined Disposal Facility (CDF).

Keansburg and Hazlet are the creek's last stretch before Raritan Bay. It has its origins in Middletown and moves through Holmdel. In 2016, low oxygen levels were cited for the death of as many as a million small fish known as peanut bunker. A descriptive 2016 article in the Two River Times examines the creek's condition, and factors that contribute to it.

Boaters, and even non-boaters, are under advisement to avoid the dredge pipeline and heavy equipment and buoys. Dredge crews will monitor VHF radio channels 16 and 13, and they'll need 45 minutes' notice in advance if anyone needs to pass through.

State Aids to Navigation (ATON) will be removed during the project. State and federal regulations require work to be completed by December 31.

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