The purpose of the Feasibility and Environmental Assessment was to document the aquatic restoration of Brush Neck Cove planning process. The sponsor, stakeholders and Corps believed that the perceived environmental degradation of Brush Neck and neighboring Buttonwoods Cove is related to reduced tidal flushing and tidal range caused by a restriction at the inlet and sedimentation. The group also believed that removing the soft sediment layer and exposing a coarser underlying material in the coves could improve benthic habitat. However, data collected during the feasibility study suggest that these coves are not tidally restricted and have no reduced water volume exchange; the coves receive the maximum tidal flushing and ranges available and the volume of water entering the coves has not changed with time. The sediment core data revealed minimal to no physical difference between the upper and lower sediment layers; the sediment cores did not contain a distinct coarse substrate layer. The Corps concluded from these data that dredging the inlet or the coves would not result in significant restoration benefits. Therefore, we do not recommend a Federal project at this time and recommend terminating the investigation. The City of Warwick should work together with other Federal, State and local agencies and groups to implement best management practices to minimize sediment, nutrient and bacteria loading and take steps to eradicate invasive species in the study area watershed.
The findings of this negative report have not gone through the formal Corps of Engineers review/quality assurance process. Information, other than the general conclusion that further consideration under the Section 206, Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program is not warranted, should be considered preliminary.