CONCORD, Mass. – The Nature Conservancy, located at 159 Waterman Street, Providence, 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 constructing an artificial reef array at 130 Shore Road in Narragansett Bay in East Providence, Rhode Island.
The proposed work involves the construction of a 0.14-acre artificial reef using 91 pre-fabricated reef modules. The artificial reef array will consist of 58 Pallet Balls (4 feet x 2.9 feet) and 33 Bay Balls (3 feet x 2 feet). The reef modules will be transported to the project site by barge and lowered to the seafloor by crane.
Once the reef module is in place, tension hooks (Pelican Hook) will release the reef modules from its strap in a fixed position. Approximately 2,016 cubic feet (91 reef modules) of fill material is proposed to be placed below the high tide line in the Narragansett Bay to construct an artificial reef for the purpose of enhancing fishing habitat. The proposed project has been located outside of recreational navigational areas, and also has avoided the federal navigation project. The project would start no earlier than Oct. 15 to minimize potential impacts to the fisheries. No compensatory mitigation has been proposed for this project.
This proposed project will impact 0.14 acre of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). This habitat consists of sand and shell hash. 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 with 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 Nature Conservancy, 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 Nature Conservancy (file # NAE-2019-00058) should be forwarded no later than Feb. 28, 2019 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Taylor Bell), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Taylor Bell at 978-318-8952 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.