CONCORD, Mass. – The City of Beverly 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 dredging a section of Bass River in Beverly, Mass., and disposing of the material in the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site.
The City of Beverly proposes to mechanically dredge approximately 53,800 cubic yards of material to elevation -6 feet MLW from Bass River and dispose of the dredged material at the Massachusetts Bay Disposal Site to restore safe navigation. The total dredge area would be 315,005 square feet of which 94,105 square feet would be in intertidal areas. The area was previously dredged in 1904, 1934 and 1955.
The proposed project will have an adverse effect on 7.24 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. This habitat consists of 2.16 acres of soft bottom intertidal areas and 5.08 acres of subtidal soft bottom estuarine habitat. Loss of intertidal habitats and impacts to subtidal habitat may adversely affect winter flounder spawning and rearing habitat.
As compensatory mitigation the town proposes to seed with shellfish approximately 2 acres in the Pine River in Revere or Saugus. No dredging is proposed from Feb. 1 to June 30 to minimize adverse impacts to EFH. The Corps has made a preliminary determination that site-specific impacts may be substantial. The Corps will submit an expanded EFH assessment to the National Marine Fisheries Service, who in turn will provide conservation recommendations. The EFH consultation will be concluded prior to the final permit decision.
The application for the federal permit was filed by the City of Beverly 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 103 of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act of 1972, which authorizes the Corps to regulate the transportation of dredged material for the purpose of disposal in the ocean. The public notice, with more detailed information, can be viewed on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory and then public notices or go directly to http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Regulatory/Public%20Notices/.
Public comments on this permit request by the City of Beverly (file # NAE-2006-500) should be forwarded no later than June 1, 2012 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: John Sargent), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager John Sargent at 978-318-8026 or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts) or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.