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Corps of Engineers proposes dredging rock, hard packed sand from portions of Little Narragansett Bay Federal navigation project

Published Aug. 28, 2015

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing maintenance dredging of rock and hard packed sand from portions of the Pawcatuck River, Little Narragansett Bay, and Watch Hill Cove Federal Navigation Project (FNP) in Westerly, Rhode Island, and Stonington, Conn. The state of Rhode Island is the local sponsor for this proposed work.


The section of 10-foot-deep MLLW by 100-foot wide entrance channel of Little Narragansett Bay FNP near Fishers Island Sound extending to an area west of Wequetequock Cove was dredged during November and December of 2014 with a cutterhead pipeline dredge, but the dredge could not remove hard packed sand and rocks which are still limiting the channel depth.


The proposed work involves maintenance dredging of up to 2,600 cubic yards of hard packed sand and approximately 750 to 1,000 cubic yards of rock and cobble material from this section of the project. The rocks are a navigational hazard at lower stages of the tide. The proposed rock removal and dredging will remove hard packed sand and rocks from approximately 34,600 square feet of the authorized project area.


The authorized Federal navigation project provides for a 10-foot deep Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) channel, 100-feet wide from Stonington Point through Little Narragansett Bay to Avondale, a length of about 3 miles, to the lower wharves in Westerly, a length of about 4 miles, and then 40-feet wide between lower and upper wharves of Westerly to 7-feet deep; a 10-foot deep channel, 100-feet wide, from the mouth of the river into Watch Hill Cove; a 16-acre anchorage basin in the Cove, 10-feet deep; and a 200-foot long riprap jetty near the southwest corner of the basin.


Dredging will be performed with a mechanical dredge, the government-owned “Snell.” The government-owned special purpose hopper dredge “Currituck” will be used as the scow. The rock material (with some sand) will be placed adjacent to rock outcroppings off of the Maschaug area of Westerly, approximately 6 miles from the channel, seaward of the 30-foot depth contour. Scows containing primarily sand will transit to a nearshore site off of Misquamicut Beach for placement. The work is planned to take place over a three- week period during October 2015.


Dredging was last performed in November and December 2014 when approximately 61,900 cubic yards of sand was dredged and placed on Sandy Point. The proposed work is being coordinated with: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries; Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council; Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission; Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Office of Long Island Sound Programs; Connecticut Historic Preservation Office; the town of Westerly, RI; the town of Stonington, CT; and the Native American Tribes of Mashantucket Pequot, Narragansett Indian Tribe, and Mohegan Tribe.  


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/Missions/Navigation/PublicNotices.aspx.


Public comments on this proposed work should be forwarded no later than Sept. 24, 2015 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Programs/Project Management Division (ATTN: Mr. Daniel Stenstream), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to nae-pn-nav@usace.army.mil.

Tim Dugan

Release no. 2015-075