CONCORD, Mass. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing to perform maintenance dredging of portions of the Housatonic River Federal Navigation Project in Stratford and Milford, Conn. The proposed work involves removal of up to 300,000 cubic yards of sandy material from portions of the 18-foot main channel. The state of Connecticut is the sponsor for this proposed work.
“Natural shoaling processes and storm events have reduced available depths in the lower sections of the Housatonic River. The 18-foot-deep authorized channel has numerous areas that have shoaled above the
-18 foot mean lower low water plane,” said Project Manager Jack Karalius, of the Corps’ New England District, Programs and Project Management Division in Concord, Mass. “Some areas have shoaled to as shallow as -5 feet mean lower low water.”
The existing Federal navigation project provides for an 18-foot deep, 200-foot wide main channel from the mouth of the river to the lower end of Culvers Bar (approximately five miles distance). Maintenance dredging will be required in order to restore most of the authorized depth and width of the channel. Both recreational and commercial vessels transit the river. More than 1,000 vessels are based in the river and harbor, including approximately 15 commercial vessels.
Maintenance dredging will be performed using either a mechanical dredge or hopper dredge. The dredged sand will be transported and pumped directly onto Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison to renourish the eroding beach. The proposed work will be performed over an approximately three to four month period between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31 for shoals inside Milford Point, and between Oct. 1 and Feb. 28 for shoals seaward of Milford Point, in the year in which funds become available and necessary approvals are received.
An Environmental Assessment is being prepared and will be available for review upon request. The material to be dredged has undergone physical and chemical analyses. Proposed work is being coordinated with: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Office of Long Island Sound Programs; Connecticut Department of Agriculture (Bureau of Aquaculture); Connecticut Historical Commission; Connecticut Department of Transportation; Hammonasset Beach State Park; Mohegan Tribe; Mashantucket Pequot Tribe; and the town of Stratford Harbor Management Commission.
The public notice with more details is online at: www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices.aspx.
Public comments on this proposed work should be forwarded no later than July 14, 2016 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Programs and Project Management Division (ATTN: Mr. Jack Karalius), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.