The Pease Development Authority Division of Ports and Harbors (Port Authority) is reaching out to all mooring holders and Pier users in the Hampton and Seabrook Harbors.
Arrangements have been made for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation to hold an informational meeting with the users of Hampton and Seabrook Harbors to discuss the upcoming rehabilitation or replacement of the Hampton Harbor Bridge, also known as the Neil R. Underwood Bridge (NH DOT Bridge No. 235/025), which carries NH 1A over the inlet to Hampton Harbor and Seabrook Harbor.
The meeting is scheduled for October 25th at 4:00 p.m. at the Seabrook Beach Village District Building, 210 Ocean Blvd., Seabrook NH 03874.
For further meeting details please see the attached notice.
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen have instructed me to deliver a preliminary report on the options available to the Board relative to increasing safety measures at Seabrook Beach. That report, attached below, will be delivered at today’s meeting, along with the draft of a potential warrant article.
The Seabrook-Hampton Dredge project, which has had some preliminary engineering work done by the U.S. Army Corps, has received great news from Senators Shaheen and Hassan. The bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 has passed both houses of Congress, and will now await the signature of the President. Terrific news for the region, and for the fishing industry on the seacoast. Thank you to the N.H. Legislative delegation, and to Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Senator Maggie Hassan for their tireless work in support of this project. Below is the joint statement from Senators Shaheen and Hassan.
Shaheen & Hassan Provisions to Address Mitigation Efforts at Hampton-Seabrook & Portsmouth Harbors Head to President’s Desk as Part of Water Infrastructure Bill
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) issued the following statements after the bipartisan America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 passed the Senate 99-1. The biennial legislation authorizes water infrastructure projects around the country, and Shaheen and Hassan helped secure approval of mitigation efforts at Hampton-Seabrook and Portsmouth Harbors. The legislation will now head to the President’s desk to be signed into law, having passed both chambers.
“The shoaling of Hampton-Seabrook Harbor is so extreme that it has started to threaten the welfare of our fishermen and the sustainability of our Seacoast economy. As it has become increasingly more difficult for vessels to navigate the harbor, public safety and accessibility to and from the open water have become serious concerns – that’s why I’ve repeatedly fought to push forward on emergency dredging,” said Shaheen. “I’m glad to share that this legislation prioritizes emergency dredging for Hampton-Seabrook Harbor, as well as widening the uppermost turning basin on the Piscataqua River to address similar navigation safety issues. I urge the President to act quickly and sign this bill into law so efforts can move forward to deliver much-needed relief to New Hampshire’s coastal community.”
“Funding for mitigation efforts at Hampton-Seabrook and Portsmouth Harbors will help ensure the safety and vitality of our Seacoast,” said Hassan. “If fisherman cannot get their boats out to the open water, our coastal communities and small businesses will suffer, which could create a ripple effect throughout our state. I am pleased that the measures Senator Shaheen and I pushed for were included in the passage of this bipartisan bill and I am eager to see it become law.”
Addressing the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) leadership earlier this year, Shaheen and Hassan requested the Committee support emergency dredging at Hampton-Seabrook Harbor and the Portsmouth Harbor & Piscataqua River Navigation Improvement Project. Shaheen and Hassan’s letter can be read here.
The final America’s Water Infrastructure Act includes the language secured by Shaheen and Hassan that would permit emergency dredging for Hampton-Seabrook Harbor. Significant shoaling at Hampton-Seabrook has caused sand to pile high enough to prevent boats from exiting and entering the harbor at low tides. For Portsmouth Harbor, the current 800-foot width of the turning basin on the Piscataqua River is a safety concern for large cargo ships. Their provision will permit the basin to be widened by 400 feet, which will allow for broader use of area ports, improve navigational safety and provide an economic boost for New Hampshire and the region. In addition to Congressional approval, these mitigation efforts would need to be included in the Army Corps of Engineers’ (the Corps) work plan.
Additionally, Senator Shaheen successfully added language to the final bill to require the Corps to adhere to existing law requiring the regular release of a project report detailing all authorized Corps projects around the nation. Shaheen’s reporting requirement compels the Corps to issue the annual Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund Report to improve transparency so that Congress and the public are aware of all ongoing projects, including the status, funding levels and other relevant information on all Corps infrastructure priorities.
Senators Shaheen and Hassan have been fierce advocates on behalf of New Hampshire fishermen and coastal communities in Hampton and Portsmouth. In September, the New Hampshire delegation called on the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James to include emergency dredging for Hampton-Seabrook Harbor in the OMB and the Corps’ fiscal year 2019 work plan. The New Hampshire delegation has repeatedly called for the Corps to dredge Hampton-Seabrook Harbor. Shaheen toured Hampton-Seabrook Harbor in the spring and released an exclusive video showing how badly the shoaling is occurring in the harbor, underscoring the need for federal assistance to perform emergency dredging.
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen will hold an informational meeting on the Seabrook Harbor Dredge Project at Seabrook Town Hall on Tuesday September 25, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be on hand, as well as a representative from New Hampshire Fish and Game. The discussion will be focused on the placement location for the sand that is dredged from Seabrook Harbor.
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen, at their meeting of September 17, 2018, recognized and thanked Police Officer Jim Deshaies for his many years of service upon his retirement. Officer Deshaies spent many years as the School Resource Officer, and earned the respect and affection of the students he served. The Board of Selectmen offered their best wishes for a well deserved retirement for Officer Jim Deshaies.
At approximately 12:25 PM on Sunday August 19, 2018 the Seabrook Police Department responded to the area of 131 Ocean Drive for a report of multiple swimmers struggling in the water off Seabrook Beach. The Seabrook Fire Department responded and the Hampton Fire Department and Hampton Beach lifeguards responded with a rescue boat and jet skis.
Seabrook Officers John Giarrusso and Zach Bunszell were the first on scene. Officer Giarrusso shed his duty gear and entered the water assisting several of the parties to shore before returning to the water on a surfboard to search for the last party unaccounted for. Sergeant Dave Buccheri, K9 Officer Dave Hersey, Acting Chief of Police Brett Walker, and Lieutenant Jason Allen arrived shortly thereafter.
A female party pulled from the water was transported to the Seabrook Emergency Room.
The last male party was pulled from the water at 12:59 PM by a Hampton Beach lifeguard and transported to Anna Jaques Hospital.
A total of seven parties were pulled from the water including the six original swimmers in distress and one good Samaritan who aided in the rescues.
Seabrook Acting Chief of Police Brett Walker stated, “The quick and selfless actions of the police officers, firefighters, and lifeguards was essential in removing all parties from the rough waters today. The interagency teamwork was exemplary given the circumstances. Our officers on scene, along with the Seabrook and Hampton Fire Departments and lifeguards, quickly and efficiently coordinated both a targeted search and rescue area for those in the water as well as land-based evacuation for those requiring transport.”
CodeRed alerts as well as posts on the Seabrook Police Department Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts advised of the dangerous currents and to avoid swimming off of Seabrook Beach following the incident.
The names of those involved are not being released at this time and the conditions of those transported is not available. Anyone with information regarding this accident is asked to contact Officer Zach Bunszell at 603-474-5200. This incident remains under investigation.
Police Chief Michael Gallagher, at the July 16, 2018 Board of Selectmen meeting, announced his retirement from the Police Department effective August 1, 2018. Chief Gallagher has performed just about every job for the Seabrook Police Department, and has had a very distinguished career. The Seabrook Board of Selectmen offered strong praise for Chief Gallagher after his announcement, highlighting his leadership in the battle against the scourge of opioids. Chief Gallagher will be missed.
Some biographical information on Chief Gallagher.
Chief Michael Gallagher served four years active duty in US Army Airborne Special Operations units (1982-1986) and was trained as a Special Forces Medic.
Chief Gallagher was hired as a full-time police officer by the Town of Seabrook in 1989 and attended the 88th NH Police Academy. In his 29 year career in Seabrook he has served as a Patrolman, Police Prosecutor, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant in charge of the Services Division, Lieutenant, Deputy Chief of Police, and Chief of Police.
In 1994 Chief Gallagher was given a Medal of Honor by the Manchester Union Leader for his actions in pulling two crash victims from a burning car.
In 2009, in response to the prescription drug overdose epidemic, Chief Gallagher started the first prescription drug takeback program in New Hampshire, where the community can drop off unused or unwanted prescription medications 24 hours a day.
In his efforts to better connect with the public, Chief Gallagher began regular Coffee with a Cop events at various locations in the town which gave the public an opportunity to meet the officers serving their community. Chief Gallagher also revived the Seabrook PD K9 program in the fall of 2017 with the addition of K9 Henry to the agency.
Town seeks public assistance in reducing water use
Seabrook— The Town of Seabrook has implemented, on July 16th at its scheduled Board of Selectmen meeting, voluntary water restrictions for its water system. The Seabrook Board of Selectmen, acting in their capacity as the Water Commissioners for the Town of Seabrook, approved the request by Water Superintendent Curtis Slayton and Chief Operator George Eaton. Due to the recent dry conditions it has become necessary to ask residents to be mindful of how they use the water. Chief Operator George Eaton pointed out to the Seabrook Board that “our rainwater measurements are below that of 2016, the year of severe drought.” Chief Operator Eaton pointed out that the voluntary restrictions recommended are driven by the Seabrook Groundwater Management Plan, which offers safe parameters for the operation of Seabrook water wells. The Seabrook Board of Selectmen request that the public:
Repair any leaks inside or outside of the home.
Refrain from washing driveways and sidewalks
Cut back on irrigation times or irrigate every other day, or between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Reduce the frequency of the washing of cars
Check for and repair leaks in swimming pool systems
The Seabrook Board of Selectmen and the Seabrook Water Department are hopeful that more prudent use of water now will help to avoid mandatory restrictions at a later date and are appreciative of the support of the public.
The Town of Seabrook, after receiving a positive result on Friday July 13, 2018 from a single water sample indicating an E.coli contamination, has worked since that time with the New Hampshire DES to examine the Seabrook Water system, and ascertain whether the single test represented a wider problem with water quality in Seabrook. The Seabrook Water Department, represented by Superintendent Curtis Slayton and Chief Operator George Eaton, in close cooperation with DES, immediately began drawing new samples for testing. On Saturday morning, July 14, 2018, at 7:00 am, DES, with Chief Operator George Eaton, conducted a full sanitary inspection of the Seabrook Water System. Additional water sampling was also conducted and sent to a state certified lab. After the sanitary inspection was completed the N.H. DES representative indicated that there was “no apparent source of contamination” and found “no operational deficiencies” in the conduct of operations by the Seabrook Water Department. On Sunday July 15, 2018 extensive test results were returned to the Chief Operator George Eaton, as well as the New Hampshire DES. Those lab results show an absence of Total Coliform and E.coli bacteria. Since the initial positive result was not duplicated it appears that the initial finding was an anomaly. The residents of Seabrook can feel confident that the Seabrook Water Department continues to deliver high quality, clean water.
During this weekend the Seabrook Water Department closely adhered to NH DES rules, regulations, and established protocols. The Town of Seabrook is very grateful for the high level of assistance provided by the NH DES. DES was immediately available for consultation and was on site in Seabrook at 7:00 am Saturday. The strong work of Chief Operator George Eaton and Superintendent Curtis Slayton provided critical updates to the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, who are the Water Commissioners of the Town of Seabrook. Daily updates to the public were issued under the direction of the Seabrook Board of Selectmen, who instructed management to keep this process open and transparent. The Seabrook Water Department will continue to work with the N.H. DES, and will conduct additional testing beyond the traditional level over the next week.
The Town of Seabrook Water Department personnel met this morning, in Seabrook, with a representative of DES. The Chief Operator and Water Superintendent were on hand, and have transmitted to the Seabrook Board of Selectmen a status report. Additional water sampling was conducted Friday evening, and has been sent to a state certified lab for analysis. Additional data will inform, and will be the basis of determination for the next necessary steps. The Seabrook Water Department anticipates this data will be available on Sunday July 15. The Seabrook Water Department continues to manage this response in close cooperation with the New Hampshire DES, with strict adherence to DES policies and protocols. At this time there is no boil order in effect, and that determination is made in consultation with, and in adherence to, DES protocols. The DES has informed the Town, after completing a complete sanitary survey of the water system, that there are no “operational deficiencies” that can be cited, as well as finding “no apparent source of contamination.” The Town will continue to issue updates to the public as information becomes available.