2006_11_dolphinfight.jpgLast Monday, after months of planning, tugboats attempted to move the USS Intrepid from Pier 86 on Manhattan's West Side to Bayonne, NJ for repairs. Unfortunately, the aircraft carrier's propellers were partially stuck in the mud and couldn't be budged. But now the Navy is coming to the rescue, agreeing to send a salvage team to dredge Intrepid and have it moved within three weeks. Apparently there were appeals from many levels of New York government!

Yet there may be another wrinkle, with a different concern over the Naval dredging. The NY Times reports that usually dredging is not allowed in New York Harbor because "some fish swim up from the ocean seeking a winter haven." The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (who has also been consulting) says the 55 degree water is unusually warm so it shouldn't affect fish, but environmental group Clean Air Campaign is upset. From the NY Times:

The new plan shocked Marcy Benstock, director of the Clean Air Campaign, an environmental group, who said that the dredging would destroy an important habitat for several types of fish, including striped bass, which migrate downriver.

“It’s an excuse they cooked up to do what shouldn’t be done,” Ms. Benstock said. “The corps and other officials should stop putting special interests before the need to preserve the lower Hudson River as an open river and stop misusing public funds for habitat-destroying schemes like this one.”

Oy. The president of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum Bill White said, "Believe me, there is absolutely nothing simple about the logistics and the maneuvering of an aircraft carrier."

The Naval effort will cost $3 million, but the Intrepid will try to pay it back. Additionally, the tugboating operation won't charge for a second move. We just wish the Navy were bringing in the mine hunting dolphins - they are so cool.