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Corps of Engineers proposes maintenance dredging of Buttermilk Bay Federal Navigation Project in Bourne

Published June 18, 2013

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing maintenance dredging of the Buttermilk Bay Federal Navigation Project (FNP) in Bourne, Mass. The authorized FNP provides for a 7-foot deep by 100-foot wide channel at mean lower low water (MLLW) through the sandbar blocking the natural channel connecting Buzzards and Buttermilk Bays. The channel extends 2,800 feet from the west side of the Cape Cod Canal in the vicinity of Sears Point, Wareham, first northwesterly then north easterly to a point midway between Taylor Point, Bourne, and Peters Neck, Wareham. The project continues northeast approximately 2,500 feet, 6 feet deep MLLW and 80 feet wide to the public marina in Bourne.


“The proposed work involves urgently needed maintenance dredging to remove various shoals in the channel of the FNP. Shoaling in these areas is primarily the result of Hurricane Sandy and subsequent nor’east storms,” said Project Manager Craig Martin, of the Corps’ New England District, Programs/Project Management Division. “Shoaling is creating hazardous conditions for the small fleet of commercial lobstermen, sport fishing enterprises, and large contingency of recreational boaters based in the harbor.”


A recent hydrographic survey indicates that controlling depths in the authorized 6-foot entrance channel, and 7-foot deep entrance channel are 4.5 feet and 1.3 feet MLLW, respectively. The shoaling has caused the channel width to become significantly narrowed raising concerns that two vessels may not be able to pass abreast of each other potentially resulting in a collision. The town of Bourne has requested the dredging.


Mechanical dredge equipment under contract to the Federal government will be used to remove approximately 20,000 cubic yards of material and transport by scow to a nearshore site located just south of Mashnee Dike in Phinney’s Harbor in Bourne. Contingent upon receiving necessary approvals, dredging will be performed during a 4-6 week period during the fall of 2013 into early winter of 2014. The last time the harbor was dredged was in 1984.


The work is being coordinated with: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management; the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Massachusetts Historic Preservation Office; the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources; the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah); and the town of Bourne town manager, town engineer and harbormaster. 


The public notice is available at: Public comments on this proposed work should be forwarded no later than July 14, 2013 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Programs/Project Management Division (ATTN: Mr. Craig Martin), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2013-052