HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- In an effort to restore some of New Jersey's marine ecosystems, Hoboken announced a project to remove abandoned boats from the Weehawken Cove.
The project started May 2 and was made possible with a $235,000 grant from NOAA's Marine Debris Removal Program.
The abandoned and rotting boats are leeching harmful materials like oil, mercury, plastic, and fiberglass into the Cove which is then pushed through connecting waterways.
"These sunken vessels have polluted the Hudson River to the detriment of marine wildlife for far too long," Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said. "After years of attempting to identify the irresponsible owners of these boats and taking it upon ourselves to remove them at the City's expense, I am pleased that now, with the help of our local and federal partners, we will be able to remove all the boats from Weehawken Cove.
By removing the boats the local ecosystem can get a chance to rebalance.
Ever since super storm Sandy, Weehawken Cove has become a dumping ground for derelict and abandoned boats resembling a sort of boat graveyard.
"It's like the ghost ships of Hoboken that's what I call it, resident Jerry Elmo said. "It was interesting to see them and to try to guess the ages of them. Some look very old others look pretty recent from Sandy."
With this project, the city is hoping to remove all of the vessels and keep the cove clean.
The project will take about 24 months with the City's Contractor, Ken's Marine Service, working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. or later depending on high tide.
All of the work will be done in the water and will not block traffic or impede parking with no significant noise expected for the surrounding community.
In addition to removing the sunken ships, the project will create a living shoreline, repair bulkheads within the cove and restore marine habitats in the Hudson River Estuary.
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