On March 24th, Mayor Bhalla met with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Dr. Richard Spinrad to plan the Weehawken Cove restoration and boat removal project, which has been a hot topic of discussion amongst resident and local government leaders alike in recent years. Now, the boat removal is set to officially begin next week. Read on for the latest information about the sunken boats in Hoboken.
A Brief History
In September of 2021, it was announced that a grant was secured to remove the abandoned half-sunken boats off of the coast. The boats in question are mainly grouped in an area called Weehawken Cove. Over the years, everyone from residents to local pilots have captured photographs of what has become known as “the boat graveyard.”
On September 10th, 2021, the City of Hoboken announced it had secured over $235,000 in grant funding to remove the sunken boats and marine debris from Weehawken Cove.
The project, funded in part by an over $235,000 NOAA grant, will remove 14 sunken boats and marine debris from Weehawken Cove as part of the City’s efforts to restore the local ecosystem and create a living shoreline.
This will be a 24-month long project and is slated to begin May 2nd, according to the press release. The aim is to remove all known abandoned and derelict vessels in the Hudson River estuary, “which have the potential to release harmful metals and chemicals, such as oil and mercury, as well as plastics and fiberglass into the water as they deteriorate,” the City pointed out.
The removal process will be led by Ken’s Marine Service, the City’s Contractor, and is estimated to take up to four weeks. The team plans to work between the hours of 8AM and 6PM, though these works hours are dependent on the tide. Residents shouldn’t expect any traffic or parking disruption nor should the work cause any significant noise.
Once the vessels have been removed, the City says it will repair the 16th Street bulkhead, launch a public education campaign to help prevent future boat abandonment, and create a living shoreline. According to the press release, these efforts are funded in partnership with the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program with the assistance of Riverkeeper and the New York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program.
“Our waterfront is the crown jewel of our City and we are glad to beautify it by removing abandoned boats that have been an eyesore for too long,” said Mayor Bhalla via a press release. “Thank you to Dr. Spinrad and NOAA for their continued support as we remove hazards from our Cove and restore wildlife habitats within the Hudson River.”
“Abandoned and derelict vessels threaten our ocean and coasts by obstructing navigation, damaging sensitive habitats, and diminishing commercial and recreational activities,” said NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, Ph.D. “This project is a clear example of how removing hazardous marine debris supports coastal resilience and the blue economy, and I am pleased that our funding is being leveraged to improve resilience in the City of Hoboken and the Hudson River Estuary.”
Aside from this project, in the next 24 months, the City has plans to move forward with the creation of Cove Park at 15th and Garden Streets as part of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Rebuild by Design project. The new park will include above-ground amenities to protect the City from flooding caused by storm surge events, such as Superstorm Sandy.