The Town of Wellfleet hired an advisor in Washington, DC to help us emphasize the need for dredging the Wellfleet Harbor. Bob Wallace and I traveled to Washington DC on January 16th. We arrived in Washington DC and checked into our hotel where we had lunch at the hotel with Ray (our advisor). In conversation we decided to focus on four areas and work to get those four points across in every conversation.
1. The safety aspects of not dredging the Harbor. Wellfleet is a member of the Cape & Islands Maritime Response System. We are unable to effectively serve during periods of low tide. And although we are a Harbor of Refuge the Harbor is inaccessible from 6 to 8 hours a day.
2. Aquaculture. Bob provided information on how the black mayonnaise was affecting him as a Shellfisherman. We also related the number of jobs on the outer Cape that were tied to the industry.
3. Maintenance Dredging. We stressed the fact that the Town was working on a maintenance dredging program so that for as long as possible we would be self sustaining. We would not be coming back in five years asking for more help. We gave them examples of how we might fund our maintenance dredging.
4. Support from the State of Massachusetts. We discussed our meetings with Representative Peake, Senator Cyr and Secretary of Economic Development Jay Ash and the fact that all are supportive of this project. The State will help with funding, but the Federal portion must be completed first.
Our first meeting was with the Office of Management and Budget. It was helpful that Ray knew the folks there and has worked with them previously.
The 2nd meeting was with Senator Warren’s staff. As with all meetings we distributed our dredging brochure which was well received.
The 3rd meeting was with Senator Markey and his staff. He complimented us on the brochure and asked what we needed him to do. He mentioned that during committee hearings on the new head of the Army Corp of Engineers he had a private meeting with the candidate during which he brought up and stressed the importance of dredging the Wellfleet Harbor. It was a great meeting and Senator Markey and his staff could not have been more supportive.
The 4th meeting was with three representatives from the Army Corp of Engineers. The fact that we were there in person discussing the project was so important. They couldn’t promise anything, but they’ve met us and now know Wellfleet Harbor.
The 5th meeting was back in Senator Warren’s office. She couldn’t meet with us personally the first time, but was able to meet us this time. She was fascinated to talk to Bob once she heard he had a Shellfish grant.
Our last meeting was with Congressman Keating and his staff. He was very well informed on the project so the meeting was more general in nature.
Bob did a great job representing the shellfish industry. Ray was an excellent choice to guide us through our meetings. We will continue to work with him as needed.