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Corps proposes maintenance dredging/excavation of Inner Basin shoal at Harbor of Refuge project on Block Island

Published June 4, 2012

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing maintenance dredging/excavation of the Inner Basin shoal at the Harbor of Refuge Federal Navigation Project on Block Island, Rhode Island.


The proposed work involves removal of the northeast shoal in the 15-foot-deep Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) Inner Basin of the Harbor of Refuge Federal navigation project.


“Natural shoaling processes have reduced available depths in the northeast corner of the 15-foot deep Inner Basin making navigation into the Inner Basin hazardous at all stages of the tide,” said Project Manager Michael Walsh, of the Corps’ New England District, Programs/Project Management Division.


Maintenance dredging/excavation of approximately 3,000 cubic yards of sand from approximately 0.1 acre of the authorized project area will remove the northeast shoal in the Inner Basin. Dredging/excavation will be performed by a land based, track mounted back-hoe. Dredged/excavated material will be transported by truck and will be disposed of at an upland beach site located adjacent to Corn Neck Road approximately ½ mile north of the Inner Basin.


The proposed work will take place over a three-month period in the year or years in which funds become available. The public notice is intended to cover several maintenance dredging events over a 10-year period.


The dredged/excavated material consists of clean sand based on sampling performed in September 2011. It is the Corps’ preliminary determination that the material is suitable for upland disposal at the proposed beach disposal site adjacent to Corn Neck Road, located approximately ½ mile north of the harbor.


Maintenance dredging of the Block Island Harbor of Refuge has been performed 27 times since 1928. The most recent maintenance dredging of the entrance channel occurred in 2011 with disposal at a previously used nearshore site off of Crescent Beach. 


The town of New Shoreham is the local sponsor for this proposed project. An Environmental Assessment for this work is being prepared and will be available for review. The proposed work is being coordinated with the following Federal, state and local agencies: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; State of Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council; Rhode Island Historical Commission; and the town of New Shoreham harbormaster.


The public notice for this proposed work, with more detailed information, is available for review on the Corps website at Select “navigation” under public notices or go directly to the link at:


Public comments on this proposed work should be forwarded no later than July 4, 2012 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Programs/Project Management Division (ATTN: Mr. Michael Walsh), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to


Tim Dugan

Release no. 2012-052