CONCORD, Mass. – Electric Boat Corporation, of Groton, Connecticut, is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District for work in waters of the U.S. in conjunction with dredging and other proposed work at the facility in Groton. This work is proposed in the Thames River at 75 Eastern Point Road in Groton.
The purpose of the proposed project is to implement a Facilities Master Plan for Electric Boat that provides the necessary infrastructure at the Groton facility to allow for continued safe and efficient design, construction, and life cycle support of submarines for the U.S. Navy underway currently at the facility and as well as the water-dependent facilities needed to efficiently and safely manage future workload which includes the development of the necessary infrastructure and manufacturing facilities on the Groton site to support the construction of new, large class submarines.
Construction of the new facilities is needed and must occur while the current class of submarines is still in production at the facility's North Yard. Continued and future implementation of the U.S. Navy submarine construction and delivery schedule is vital to national security and supports the U.S. Department of Defense's critical mission of strategic deterrence.
Proposed work involves: installing sedimentation and erosion controls; removing to an approved offsite location, the existing structures; removing approximately 3,000 cubic yards of bedrock; placing approximately 620 cubic yards of stone riprap; constructing a 36'' by 48'' stormwater outfall on the northern side of the project site and a 60'' diameter reinforced concrete outfall on the southern side of the property; placing fill within 3 freshwater wetlands totaling approximately 1,750 square feet; dredging mechanically a total of 984,000 cubic yards of material; providing for use of a 180' wide by 750' long floating dry dock; installing approximately 850 linear feet of steel sheet pile bulkhead; constructing two mooring dolphins; constructing three Sea Shuttle bearing plates; constructing a 317' wide by 624' long pile-support Assembly Building; side casting the sediment from the drilled support shafts; and removing the sedimentation and erosion controls measures.
The dredging portion of this project will impact approximately 21.4 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). Habitat at this site can be described as sands and silts. 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 may 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 proposed project will have an adverse effect on approximately 6.8 acres of EFH. This habitat supports winter flounder and diadromous fish as well as other fisheries resources. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. The Corps has made a preliminary determination that site-specific impacts may be substantial. Accordingly, the applicant has submitted an expanded EFH assessment to National Marine Fisheries Service, who has provided conservation recommendations to the Corps. The Corps will coordinate with the applicant regarding implementation of these recommendations. The EFH consultation 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 by Electric Boat Corporation, can be viewed on the Corps website at www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on this work proposed by Electric Boat Corporation (file # NAE-2017-02739) should be forwarded no later than Jan. 28, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Diane Ray), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Diane Ray at 978-318-8831 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.