CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing a Draft Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) and Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Long Island Sound and will hold public hearings Aug. 24 – 27 in Connecticut and New York to provide an overview of the reports and receive public comments.
The DMMP was requested by the Governors of Connecticut and New York in a Feb. 8, 2005 joint letter to the Chief of Engineers. The need for a DMMP also was identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s June 3, 2005 Rule that designated two of the Sound’s historic open-water placement sites, the Central Long Island Sound site and the Western Long Island Sound site for continued use. The EPA’s rule required preparation of a DMMP to examine alternative placement practices, with the goal of reducing or eliminating open-water placement of dredged material in the waters of Long Island Sound wherever practicable.
Long Island Sound is a large coastal estuary located between Long Island, New York on the south, and the shores of New York, Connecticut and southwestern Rhode Island on the north. This study included adjacent waters including Block Island Sound, Little Narragansett Bay, Fishers Island Sound, Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay. A total of nearly 240 harbors, coves, bays and rivers supporting various levels of navigational access are located along these shores.
The Corps is responsible for maintaining 52 Federal Navigation Projects (FNPs) in Long Island Sound and adjacent waters that include general navigation features requiring periodic maintenance dredging. These include 31 projects in Connecticut, 17 in New York and four in Rhode Island.
The DMMP examines the need for dredging, the history of dredging and dredged material placement, and current beneficial use practices. The DMMP identifies and assesses alternatives for future dredged material placement and beneficial use, identifies the likely Federal Base Plans (least cost environmentally acceptable plan) for future Federal dredging activities, and recommends further action to be taken by individual projects as they come up for their next maintenance cycle, or in feasibility studies for proposed project improvements.
The DMMP identifies practicable potential cost-effective and environmentally acceptable placement alternatives to meet the dredging needs of Long Island Sound’s ports and harbors. Without practicable placement alternatives dredging costs will increase, fewer projects will be maintained, economic viability of projects will be reduced, and navigation dependent sectors of the regional economy will be impaired. Opportunities to beneficially use dredged material for purposes of coastal resiliency and environmental restoration and enhancement may not be realized without a DMMP.
The DMMP makes specific recommendations for further interagency involvement in dredged material management, dredging data management, study of the impacts to open water placement, and supporting opportunities for beneficial use.
The DMMP and PEIS will be posted on Aug. 17, 2015 on the Corps website at:
www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/ProjectsTopics/LongIslandSoundDMMP.aspx. The public will have until Sept. 18, 2015 to provide comments on the reports.
Two public hearings will be held in New York: on Monday, Aug. 24, 2015 in the Village Center at Port Jefferson at 101-A East Broadway in Port Jefferson, N.Y.; and on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015 at the Marriott Long Island at 101 James Doolittle Blvd. in Uniondale, N.Y.
Two public hearings will be held in Connecticut: on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 at the University of Connecticut-Stamford at 1 University Place in Stamford, Conn.; and on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015 at the Holiday Inn-New London at 35 Governor Winthrop Blvd. in New London, Conn.
Registration for all meetings will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the hearings will start at 6 p.m.
Public comments on the Draft DMMP or Draft PEIS should be forwarded no later than Sept. 18, 2015 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, (ATTN: LIS DMMP/PEIS Program Manager Meghan Quinn), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to: email@example.com.