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Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation seeks permit to place fill, structures on Winthrop Beach

Published May 8, 2012

CONCORD, Mass. – The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with beach nourishment and shore protection along Winthrop Beach in Winthrop, Mass.


The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) proposes to perform work and to place fill material and structures below the high tide line of waters of the U.S. in order to perform a beach nourishment project at Winthrop Beach. The project also includes dredging below the high tide line of existing material from a tombolo located at Winthrop Beach for redistribution within the beach nourishment area.


The purpose of the DCR proposed project is shore protection at Winthrop Beach. The beach nourishment area will cover approximately 50.6 acres and will require approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sand and gravel. The majority of the nourishment material will be obtained from an upland source, the abandoned I-95 embankment in Saugus, Mass. A tombolo of sand and gravel exists behind the five breakwaters at Winthrop Beach. A portion of the nourishment material is proposed to be excavated from the tombolo.


The beach nourishment will consist of an area north of the five breakwaters and an area south of the five breakwaters. The north nourishment area will be 30.7 acres and consist of 350,000 cubic yards of beach nourishment obtained from the I-95 embankment site. The south nourishment area will be 19.9 acres and consist of 90,000 cubic yards of material obtained from the dredging of the tombolo.


Material from the I-95 embankment site will be transported to Winthrop Beach via dump trucks which will approach Winthrop Beach by driving south on Winthrop Shore Drive. Trucks will enter onto Winthrop Beach from the beach opening near Cutler Street or at an existing opening at Tewksbury Street. After unloading, the trucks will pull off the beach onto Winthrop Shore Drive and drive north on the return trip to the Saugus borrow site. DCR estimates that between 20,600 and 24,700 truck trips from Saugus will be required.


Material from the tombolo will be excavated using land based mechanical equipment and placed in dump trucks for transport to the southern nourishment area.


Material at both sites will be spread by bulldozers. The nourishment project is expected to take 8 months to complete. Temporary structures may be required to limit longshore and cross-shore losses of material during placement. Temporary groins will periodically be placed within the footprint of the nourishment area consisting of steel sheet pile walls that extend from the base of the seawall approximately 200 feet offshore. In addition, a shore parallel section of sheet pile at the seaward end of the temporary groin will be installed to minimize offshore losses.

Work also will include modifications to five existing groins along Winthrop Beach.


The proposed project will impact approximately 50.6 acres of Essential Fish Habitat for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of nearshore intertidal and subtidal sands and gravels. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species. However, the Corps has made a preliminary determination that the site-specific adverse effects will not be substantial. Further consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding Essential Fish Habitat conservation recommendations is being conducted and will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.


The application for the federal permit was filed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation 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 United States; and with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in United States waters, including wetlands.


The public notice, with more detailed information, can be viewed on the Corps website at Select Regulatory and then public notices or go directly to


Public comments on this permit request and proposed work by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (file # NAE-2012-497) should be forwarded no later than June 8, 2012 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Kevin Kotelly), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Kevin Kotelly at 978-318-8703 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to:

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2012-041