CONCORD, Mass. – The city of Portland 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 construction of a confined aquatic disposal (CAD) cell in Portland Harbor in South Portland, Maine. This work is proposed in the Fore River in Portland Harbor in South Portland.
The proposed work involves the construction of a confined aquatic disposal (CAD) cell within Portland Harbor at South Portland for the future disposal of material generated from dredging activities within and around Portland Harbor. Construction of the CAD cell will require dredging approximately 376,858 cubic yards of material from an 8.9 acre area of shallow subtidal habitat.
The CAD cell will be dredged to a depth of -50 feet mean lower low water and with 3:1 side slopes. The dredging will be done mechanically via conventional clamshell bucket. The CAD cell is proposed to be constructed in a single season between Nov. 1 to March 15, 2020 or 2021. The CAD cell is designed to accommodate approximately 273,371 cubic yards of dredged material.
Dredged material generated from the construction of the CAD cell is proposed for unconfined open water placement at the designated Portland Disposal Site (PDS) which is located approximately 7.1 nautical miles east of Dyer Point at Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
The dredging portion of this project will impact approximately 8.9 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). Habitat at this site can be described as sandy silt. Temporary impacts to this habitat from dredge material disposal may affect species that use these waters and substrate. However, the Corps has made the 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 disposal of dredged material is proposed for the Portland Disposal Site. This is an open water site, which provides EFH. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect species that use these waters and substrate. However, the Corps has made the 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 decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources.
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; 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; and Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 USC 408), which regulates altering existing Corps civil works projects.
The activities proposed also will require permission from the Corps pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 408 because it will alter or temporarily or permanently occupy or use a Corps federally authorized Civil Works project. The proposed alteration involves dredging activities in the channel within the authorized limits of the Federal Navigation Project. A permit pursuant to Section 10/404 shall not be granted until the Section 408 permission is issued. The Corps is soliciting information necessary for the Corps evaluation and review.
The public notice, with more specifics on the work proposed by the city of Portland, can be viewed on the Corps website at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices/.
Public comments on this work proposed by the city of Portland (file # NAE-2017-01950) should be forwarded no later than June 17, 2020 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Maine Project Office (ATTN: Colin M. Greenan), 442 Civic Center Drive, Suite 350, Augusta, Maine 04330. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Colin M. Greenan at 207-623-8367 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: email@example.com.