CONCORD, Mass. – The city of Beverly is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with dredging in the Bass River in Beverly, Mass. The proposed work involves the mechanical dredging of 17.8 acres of silt and clay within the Bass River in two phases.
Phase I will include areas of the Bass River from Bridge Street northward to areas just beyond the Bass Haven Yacht Club. Phase I will dredge this 315,005-square-foot area, of which 94,105 is intertidal flats, to a depth of -6 feet mean low water with a one foot over dredge and will remove a total of 53,800 cubic yards of material.
Phase II will include areas of the Bass River from Bridge Street southward to the confluence of the Bass River and the Danvers River. Phase II will dredge a 462,300-square-foot area to a depth of -9 feet mean low water with a one foot over dredge and will remove 50,500 cubic yards of material. A total of 104,300 cubic yards of silt and clay material will be removed from the Bass River and be disposed of at the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site. The Corps has determined that the material to be dredged and disposed of is suitable for offshore disposal.
Pre-application coordination has resulted in the applicant proposing minimization of dredging impacts to intertidal areas within the Bass River. In addition to avoiding sensitive intertidal areas, the applicant is proposing storm water treatment improvements, removal of storm water sediment deposits, shoreline cleanup including a revetment reconstruction at Bass Haven Yacht Club, and the restoration of salt marsh flushing at Obear Park to compensate for unavoidable impacts to essential fish habitat associated with the proposed dredging.
The dredging portion will impact approximately 17.8 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. Habitat at this site can be described as marine intertidal and marine subtidal with fine silt or clay substrates. Loss of this habitat may result in adverse effects including direct or indirect physical, chemical, or biological alterations to the water or substrate utilized by these species; the loss of benthic organisms, prey species, and their habitat; and other ecosystem components utilized by these species. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effect will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding EFH conservation recommendations is being conducted and 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 dredged material has undergone physical, chemical, and biological testing and has satisfied the criteria for ocean disposal of dredged material as specified in Part 227 of the Ocean Dumping Act regulations. It is the Corps’ preliminary determination that the material is acceptable for disposal at this disposal site.
The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the city of Beverly, can be viewed on the Corps website at ww.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on this work proposed by the city of Beverly (file # NAE-2015-699) should be forwarded no later than Sept. 30, 2017 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Christine Jacek), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Christine Jacek at 978-318-8026 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.