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LISTEN ON DEMAND: THIS AMERICAN LIFE tribute to the 10 killed in the Tops Market shootings.

Dredging work continues along Buffalo waterfront

Visitors to Canalside are getting a look at one of the oldest activities of a harbor, dredging.

For probably as long as sailors have gone down to the sea, harbors have had to be dredged, removing the mud or whatever which flowed into the harbor, making it harder for ships to sail in and out.

Locally, the harbor, the Buffalo River, and the City Ship Canal are dredged to 23 feet in depth for what's called the Federal Navigation Channel. The watery material is dug up and put in barges which take it to a disposal area near the old Bethlehem Steel plant.

"What we're actually doing is finishing up a contract that we started last year," said Program Manager Mike Asquith.

"The efforts that we're getting through this year we're dredging the last 40,000 cubic yards of our contract. Now, the total for the entire contract including the work we did last year is about 550,000 cubic yards."

Asquith says that's perhaps the equivalent of 45,000 tractor trailers filled with the wet muck going to the disposal area.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.