CONCORD, Mass. – The Town of Harwich and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) are 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 constructing artificial reefs in Nantucket Sound, off the coast of Harwich, Mass.
The proposal includes work in navigable waters for the construction of artificial reefs throughout a 9.88-acre site covering no more than 1.11 acres of substrate for the purpose of creating structure. The purpose of this work is to enhance hard bottom habitat for benthic communities in Nantucket Sound. The project proposes a 2:1 ratio of natural substrate to artificial reef structures. Deploying new material within these limits will provide environmental benefits to structure-oriented marine resources in an area of limited structure habitat, maintain a substantial amount of undisturbed area on site, and afford additional opportunities for near shore anglers. The exact material type to be deployed is unknown at this time. However, DMF and the town are looking at materials of opportunity such as damaged concrete culverts, natural rock, or other clean material and manufactured units like Reef Balls. The separation between the top of the structure and the sea surface at mean low water will be 24 feet. The volume of materials to be discharged range from 5,265 cubic yards to 10,531 cubic yards, depending on the maximum vertical relief that ranges from 3 to 6 feet.
The proposed project will impact 9.5 acres of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) for various species and life stages. This habitat is relatively uniform throughout the site consisting primarily of sand. Loss of this habitat may adversely affect these species by adding structure to the substrate. However, the Corps has made a 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 a final permit decision.
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 United States; and with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in U.S. waters, including wetlands. The public notice can be viewed on the Corps website at
Public comments on the proposed work (file # NAE-2012-00312) should be forwarded no later than July 11, 2013 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: Richard Kristoff), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager Richard Kristoff at 978-318-8171 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.