Washington, D.C.—In an effort to provide a permanent fix to the severe erosion at Camp Ellis, U.S. Senator Susan Collins and U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to urge them to preserve a provision for Camp Ellis that they advocated for in the Water Resources Development Act of 2022 (WRDA).
In July, the Senate passed WRDA, which included a $45 million authorization that would ensure that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has the full funding necessary to construct a 750-foot spur jetty off the existing jetty and replenish 365,000 cubic yards of beachfront. The provision also directs the Corps to “expedite completion” of the project. The bill is now undergoing conference negotiations between the Senate and House, where Committee leaders are working to reach a final agreement on the legislation before it can be signed into law.
“As you begin conference negotiations…we write in support of a provision of great importance to the State of Maine that was included in the Senate-passed WRDA,” wrote Senator Collins and Congresswoman Pingree. “This provision will help fund a permanent solution to the severe, ongoing erosion at Camp Ellis Beach in Saco, Maine… we urge you to retain this vital language for Camp Ellis.”
More than 150 years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a jetty extending out from the Saco River, adjacent to Camp Ellis Beach, and expanded it in the 1950s. This jetty altered the pattern of currents and sand deposition and is the primary cause of the severe erosion of Camp Ellis, washing away 38 homes over the last 50 years. The 1998 shoreline was 400 feet inland from where the shoreline stood in 1908.
WRDA is biennial legislation that authorizes flood control, navigation, and ecosystem restoration projects for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Click HERE to read Senator Collins and Congresswoman Pingree’s letter.