Sunday, July 10, 2011

Help save the Washington DC anchorage

Changes are being proposed to Washington DC’s waterfront which will severely restrict anchoring in the Washington Channel. The Washington Channel has long been an educational stop for cruisers wanting to visit our nation’s capital and visit the scores of free museums in the city. There are routinely a dozen boats anchored in the channel and the numbers are increasing as a result of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge which permits vessels with vertical clearances of 75’ to transit without any bridge openings.
Local developers and the District of Columbia officials are pressing Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers to permit the extension of piers by 200 feet into the channel. They are also pressing for fixed fore and aft moorings with spacing of 30 feet. These changes essentially eliminate any anchoring in the protected upper reaches of Washington Channel.
Three steps are required before DC can take this beautiful anchorage from the cruising community. First the Army Corps of Engineers must approve the DC proposal. Currently the Army Corps of Engineers has posted Public Notice PN 11-50 and has solicited public comments before July 15th. Second the District of Columbia must receive public comments in a Zoning hearing on the 17th of July. Last, Congress must turn the federal waters over to the District of Columbia for District use. Two Congressional Bills have been introduced to allow this transfer of the Washington Channel. Either House Bill HR 723 or House Bill HR 2297 will allow the transfer the federal channel to DC.
If you want to retain the Washington Channel anchorage for cruising, we suggest you forward your comments to the US Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore office. If you are local to DC, attend the rezoning hearing on July 17th and express your views. All voters who want to stop this transfer may contact your Congressman and ask him or her to vote down any attempts to de-federalize the Washington Channel (HR Bill 723, HR Bill 2297)
To respond to Public Notice PN 11-50, you may contact the District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, PO Box 1715, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1715, US Army Corps of Engineers, or email the project engineer maria.teresi@usace.army.mil or call her at (410) 962-4501.
For additional information on the Washington Channel proposal, google “usace pn 11-50”
To look at the District of Columbia’s waterfront proposal, google “DC pud 11-03”

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