CONCORD, Mass. – The Town of Swansea 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 Swansea, Mass. Dredging is proposed in the Cole River and Mount Hope Bay in the waters adjacent to Ocean Grove Avenue at 458 Ocean Grove Avenue in Swansea. Dredged material will be used as beach nourishment. The town has requested a 10-year permit to maintain these areas.
The proposed work includes the maintenance dredging of approximately 5,950 cubic yards of sandy material by hydraulic means from a 5.69 acre area of the Cole River channel to the previously authorized 1997 dimensions and a depth of -7 Mean Low Water (MLW) and -8 MLW in order to ensure safe passage through the channel and provide sandy material to supplement beach nourishment at the Town Beach.
Additional work includes the hydraulic dredging of two new areas for the purpose of navigational improvements and sand mining in order to supplement beach nourishment at the Town Beach: 1) Dredging of the eastern shoal adjacent to the channel in Mount Hope Bay in order to mine sand for beach nourishment. Approximately 9,610 cubic yards of sandy material will be dredged from an approximately 2.65 acre area with varying depths. 2) Dredging of the eastern shoal adjacent to the boat ramp within the Cole River in order to provide safe navigational access to the Cole River Channel from the boat ramp. Approximately 2,700 cubic yards of sandy material will be dredged from an approximately 0.79 acre area to a depth of -10.2 feet.
The dredged material will be used for beach nourishment and dune creation and restoration at the adjacent Town Beach. Approximately 18,260 cubic yards of sandy material will be placed on 4.2 acres of the Town Beach as beach nourishment and approximately 100 cubic yards of material will be placed over a 3,000 square foot area in order to complete the dune restoration. Additional annual nourishment (2,000 cubic yards) from an off-site source also is proposed. The Corps has determined that the grain size of the dredged material is compatible with the grain size of the existing sand at the nourishment site.
The dredging portion of this project will impact approximately 9.12 acres of Essential Fish Habitat. Habitat at this site can be described as sandy and mixed cobble. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. 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 dredged material disposal is proposed for 183,000 square feet at Swansea Town Beach above and below the high tide line (HTL). Areas impacted below the HTL provides EFH. Habitat at this site can be described as complex and includes sand and cobble habitat. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. 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.; and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters including wetlands. The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the town of Swansea, 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 Town of Swansea (file # NAE-1995-00955) should be forwarded no later than June 14, 2018 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Joshua Helms), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Joshua Helms at 978-318-8211 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.