YORK, Maine — York town officials are fighting for federal funding to remove a buildup of sediment in York Harbor that threatens to ground local fishermen and recreational boaters alike.

As part of their effort to draw attention to the problem, the Town of York Harbor Board staged a demonstration Sunday to show how silt deposits from the York River encroach on mooring areas, forming shoals that crest the water at low tide. A group of fishermen and harbor officials stood atop a mound of sediment that juts above the water level at low tide in the middle of one of the harbor’s basins, near the mouth of the river.

“The silt that comes down the river … it sweeps in there and it just dumps,” said Harbor Board member and fisherman Dave Gittens. “People run aground there all the time – especially people who are not familiar with it.”

The silt deposit already has displaced two of the 20 commercial fishing boats usually moored in the harbor, and others must be careful not to run aground when navigating to or from their slips, said York Harbormaster David Hutchinson. “They can’t come in at low tide,” he said.

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