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Corps proposes maintenance dredging of Cuttyhunk Harbor Federal Navigation Project in Gosnold on Cuttyhunk Island

Published April 19, 2012

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing maintenance dredging of Cuttyhunk Harbor Federal Navigation Project in Gosnold, on Cuttyhunk Island, Mass.


The authorized Federal Navigation Project provides for a channel, 10 feet deep and 75 feet wide, from the outer harbor to the westerly terminal in the inner harbor. It also provides for an anchorage, 10 feet deep, 800 feet wide and 900 feet long, in the inner harbor.


Historically, a sand bar forms in the outer portion of the authorized 10-foot-deep entrance channel from about the end of the jetties to a point in the inner harbor between Copicut Neck and Barge Beach.


“The shoaling is primarily a result of sand being washed off of Barge Beach and into the channel during winter and spring northeast storms,” said Project Manager Bill Kavanaugh, of the Corps’ New England District, Programs/Project Management Division. “This material in the channel limits access to, and egress from the harbor and creates hazardous conditions for commercial and recreational vessels including the ferry which transports passengers and most of the goods to this harbor.”


Maintenance dredging to remove these shoals is typically required every few years. The proposed work involves periodic maintenance dredging, including potentially this year, to remove approximately 15,000 cubic yards of clean sand from the outer portion of the authorized 10-foot-deep entrance channel. Hydrographic surveys performed in 2011 just subsequent to Tropical Storm Irene indicate that the outer portion of the entrance channel has shoaled to -5.4 feet deep.


Contingent upon receiving the necessary approvals, maintenance dredging will be performed during a 2-week period in June 2012, and periodically thereafter, by the Government-owned, special purpose dredge “CURRITUCK.”  The last maintenance dredging was performed in 2000 when 7,295 cubic yards of material were removed by the “CURRITUCK” from the outer portion of the 10-foot-deep entrance channel and placed at the nearshore disposal area off of Church’s Beach. Material dredged from the entrance channel will be placed at either the previously used, nearshore disposal area off of Church’s Beach, or if conditions allow, at a nearshore area off of Barge Beach. The Town of Gosnold is the local sponsor for this proposed project.


The proposed work is being coordinated with the following Federal, Tribal Nations, state and local agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; National Marine Fisheries Service; Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management; Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Massachusetts Historic Preservation Office; the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; the Narragansett Indian Tribe; the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head; and the Town of Gosnold Selectmen.


The Corps has assessed the effects the dredging is likely to have and has made a preliminary determination that there will be no significant impacts on resources or the environment. An Environmental Assessment for this work is being prepared and will be available for review.


The public notice for this proposed work, with more detailed information, is available for review on the Corps website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select “navigation” under public notices or go directly to the link at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/navigation/pubnot2.asp.


Public comments on this proposed work should be forwarded no later than May 19, 2012 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Programs/Project Management Division (ATTN: Mr. Bill Kavanaugh), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to nae-pn-nav@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2012-032