CONCORD, Mass. – The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. to construct a new wharf and to establish two deep water berths at the Conley Container Terminal in South Boson, Mass. The purpose of this project is to construct a new wharf and to establish two deep water berths in the Reserved Channel at the Conley Container Terminal with minimum depths of at least -50 feet mean lower low water (MLLW) that can support larger container vessels.
The proposed project includes removing the maritime facilities associated with the former Coastal Oil terminal property; installing a new 1,278 linear foot pile-supported concrete wharf at Berth #10; and mechanically dredging 175-foot wide slips at Berths #10 and #11 to a depth of -50 feet MLLW plus dedicated overdredge. The new wharf at Conley Terminal Berth #10 has been designed in order to service vessels with up to a 10,000 twentyfoot-equivalent-units (TEU) capacity. This wharf will support three larger Ship-to-Shore container cranes, which are necessary to load and unload containers from the bigger and taller container vessels.
Approximately 912 steel piles will be installed as part of the construction of the Berth #10 wharf. A steel sheet bulkhead will be constructed at the landward edge of this wharf. Massport will fill approximately 23,500 square feet of waters of the U.S. and emplace/upgrade riprap side slopes on 132,100 square feet of waters of the U.S. to realign the shoreline and to armor the slope below the proposed Berth #10 wharf.
Massport proposes to mechanically dredge approximately 13.0 acres of waters of the U.S. in order to construct the new wharf and to dredge the proposed 175-foot wide slips at Conley Terminal Berths #10 and #11 (970 feet long) to a depth of -50 feet MLLW plus two feet, or four feet in areas where rock is located, of dedicated overdredge. Massport estimates that there could be approximately an additional 8,500 cubic yards of rock removal. This may require blasting.
Massport proposes to recycle or to dispose of the approximately 32,500 cubic yards of oil impacted soils at an upland site; to dispose of approximately 111,200 cubic yards of the historic fill material at a Boston Harbor Confined Aquatic Disposal cell; and to dispose of approximately 213,900 cubic yards of the improvement dredged material at the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site (MBDS). Massport also proposes to deauthorize portions of the existing Reserved Channel Federal Navigation Project in order to incorporate it into the deepwater Berths #10 and #11 slips.
The Conley Terminal Berths #10 and #11 Improvement Project will have an adverse effect on approximately 13.5 acres of on-site Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. This habitat consists mainly of soft bottom (sandy/silty mud) subtidal areas. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species. Massport has provided a more detailed discussion of all EFH impacts associated with this project in their Essential Fish Habitat Assessment, dated Feb. 16, 2017, which is available upon request.
Dredged material disposal for this project is proposed at a Boston Harbor Confined Aquatic Disposal cell and at the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site. These are both open water sites. Habitat at these sites can be described as estuarine or marine open water. Massport's EFH Assessment provides a detailed description of species that could be affected by the proposed disposal activities. The Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site specific adverse effects associated with dredge disposal operations will not be substantial.
The Corps is continuing consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH Conservation recommendations for this project. The Corps will coordinate with the applicant regarding implementation of any EFH Conservation recommendations. The EFH consultation process will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.
The application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps in compliance with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which provides for federal regulation of any work in, or affecting navigable waters of the U.S.; Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands; and Section 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, which regulates the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of disposal in the ocean.
The public notice, with more specifics on the proposed work, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on this work proposed by the Massachusetts Port Authority (file # NAE-2012-440) should be forwarded no later than April 28, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Paul Sneeringer), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Paul Sneeringer at 978-318-8491 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.