DREDGING ROUNDUP NORTH AMERICA - April/May 2015
Rep. Bill Keating announced February 10 that Marshfield, Massachusetts, was given a $300,000 award for the dredging of Green Harbor. Current plans were to begin dredging the harbor in the spring.
“Green Harbor is key to the economy and vitality of Marshfield and the entire South Shore,” Rep. Keating said. “This funding is essential to protect and better prepare our community for the severe storms we have seen in the past few years. After the recent storm Juno that ravaged our coast, this money couldn’t come at a better time.”
“Marshfield’s Green Harbor is one of the most productive commercial ports in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and is a significant recreational boating resource for our entire region,” Rep. Jim Cantwell said.
“Reflecting the significance of this waterway, I am pleased that Congressman Keating and our entire federal delegation were able to secure the $300,000 to dredge Green Harbor.”
“The Marshfield Board of Selectmen applaud the work of Congressman Keating for his role in securing the $300,000 for the dredging of Green Harbor,” Selectman Matt McDonough said. “The dredging of Green Harbor is essential to the commercial and recreational viability of the port and the town is elated that the Army Corps of Engineers is going forward with this vital project.”
ROYAL RIVER, YARMOUTH, MAINE
The dredging of Maine’s Royal River near Yarmouth is done—but the Corps of Engineers New England District said it couldn’t officially confirm it until the winter ice melts, which it said might not happen until April. While the Corps said it has no doubt that its contractor, Burnham Associates, of Salem, Massachusetts, did a complete job, confirmation is a Corps requirement. The Corps must do an underwater survey to confirm the job is complete.
The $3 million maintenance dredging project began last October. Dredging had not been done on the Royal River since 1997, although it’s supposed to be done on a 10-year schedule.
Burnham was awarded a $2.1 million contract for the dredging on September 5. The remaining $900,000 covered the Corps’ administrative and planning costs.
PORT DOVER, ONTARIO, CANADA
The provincial government of Ontario will not prevent Port Dover, Norfolk County, which sits on the northern shore of Lake Erie, from repairing a dam the province had wanted removed and performing dredging to restore Silver Lake.
The county is home to the Long Point National Wildlife Area, a peninsula which thrusts out into the lake. Local residents have wanted to preserve the dam and its lake.
The announcement was made to local media February 19 by Port Dover’s mayor, Charlie Luke. He said the province’s Ministry of Natural Resources told him the county was free to pursue whatever action it saw fit regarding the Port Dover site. The agency has the power to override a dam permit issued by the Long Point Region Conservation Authority.
In 2010, a local council set aside $1.1 million to repair the dam. Now it must debate whether to do the dredging.
Luke said the province recommended that before it makes any decision, the county should order an environmental assessment. The assessment, which would take a year to complete and cost between $100,000 and $200,000 [Canadian], would look at “all options” for the lake.
SNAKE AND CLEARWATER RIVERS, WASHINGTON AND IDAHO
A crane on the Heidi Renee dredges sediment from the Clearwater River. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Elizabeth L Lovelady)
The Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District announced February 26 that it had completed maintenance dredging in the barging channel and two port berthing areas in the Snake and Clearwater rivers where accumulated sediment had interfered with navigation.
The dredging is part of a $16 million plan to address silting created by four Snake River dams that has threatened upriver ports. The Snake River navigation channel had not been dredged since 2005-6. The work restored the navigation channels to their congressionally authorized dimensions of 250 feet wide by 14 feet deep at minimum operating pool (MOP) elevations.
American Construction Company, Inc., dredges on the Clearwater River. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo by Elizabeth Lovelady)
The ports of Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Washington, got their own permits and paid for their own dredging of berthing areas.
Maintenance dredging was completed this year in accordance with the Corps’ comprehensive Programmatic Sediment Management Plan during the annual winter in-water work window, December 15 through February 28, when salmon are less likely to be present in the river.
A lawsuit to stop the dredging by the Nez Perce tribe concerned that it might have hurt steelhead, Pacific lamprey and salmon remains pending, but a judge refused to issue an order halting the work while the suit progresses.
CAPE COD CANAL DREDGING PLANNED
The New England Engineer District announced on its website on March 2 that it plans to dredge the Cape Cod Canal, a toll-free canal which connects Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay and allows vessels to avoid rounding the Cape. The Corps said circumnavigating the Cape would “increase the risk profile” for some vessels. The public comment period ended March 3.
If funded, the work would begin in the fall of 2015 and last three or four months, into the spring of 2016. The Corps is studying whether to use dredged material to replenish a 2,500 foot long eroded section of Town Neck Beach in Sandwich, Mass. Otherwise, the Cape Cod Canal Disposal Site would be used for the disposal of the dredged material from the Cape Cod Canal maintenance dredging.
PORT ST. JOE, FLORIDA
The Port St. Joe Port Authority in Florida announced March 4 that it was issued a Corps of Engineers permit to allow it to dispose dredged material as part of the planned dredging of the port’s navigational channel to it maximum federally authorized depth of 37 feet. The permit, SAJ-2007-01572, will allow the port to begin dredging.
Located in Gulf County, Florida, the Port of Port St. Joe has a 180-acre deep-water seaport with nearly 1,900 linear feet of bulkhead at the ship channel turning basin. The port has access to rail, the U.S. Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and state and U.S. highways.
OREGON INLET, NORTH CAROLINA
On March 30, the Corps of Engineers Wilmington District began emergency dredging at Oregon Inlet in North Carolina, to remove the shoaling that has been obstructing the federal channel.
The goal of the side cast dredge Merritt will be to open the federal channel at the navigation span of the Bonner Bridge to a controlling depth of eight feet, so the hopper dredge Currituck can work to open the channel to as great a depth as possible up to its authorized depth of 14 feet.
The most recent hydrographic survey conducted on March 27 showed the federal channel with a depth of six feet through the bridge fenders and less than 2 feet seaward of the span.
The Corps reported on April 1 that dredge Merritt was on-site, but heavy winds had delayed the crew’s ability the begin dredging. The crew hoped to stay at the inlet and attempt, during high tide, to move through the navigation span to the east side of the bridge. Donnie Potter, chief, Physical Support Branch, Wilmington District, said if the crew can move at high tide, the plan is to drop anchor and begin dredging later in the week.
The Wilmington District estimates the cost of keeping the federal channel dredged to the depth needed for commercial vessels is from $7 – 8 million annually. The Corps was allocated $2,000,000 in FY15 for the entire project of Manteo (Shallowbag Bay), not just Oregon Inlet. The availability of dredges, along with funding, is the key to keeping the Oregon Inlet passable, the Corps said.
Dare County in North Carolina voted in the first week of March week to spend about $3.5 million a year to dredge Oregon Inlet.
The move was made possible because State Sen. Bill Cook filed a bill March 3 that would allow Dare County commissioners to have access to a pot of money from lodging fees, known as occupancy taxes, for dredging. Dare County collects the second-largest amount of occupancy taxes in the state. The Dare County Board of Commissioners agreed to dedicate a percentage of an estimated $21 million received each year from occupancy taxes.
A 2014 study showed that the Oregon Inlet has an economic impact of more than $548 million annually. That would rise to $1.6 billion if the inlet remains dredged at the preferred depth of 14 feet, the study said.
The federal government promised in a 1950s deed to keep the inlet at navigable depths. Inlet advocates repeatedly lobbied Raleigh and Washington on the issue. Federal dredging money for the inlet decreased to $800,000 last year, just enough to survey the bottom. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) announced an additional $1.2 million in February as a short-term fix.
In January, the state agreed to match local money to raise a total of $7 million--enough to keep a dredge working.
Donnie Potter, the Corps’ chief of physical support, told local media the Corps would dredge 340 days a year.
MOREHEAD CITY, NORTH CAROLINA
Marinex Construction Company of North Charleston, South Carolina, was awarded a $7.9 million Corps of Engineers contract on March 24, for dredging and removal of about 725,000 cubic yards of material from the channel leading to the North Carolina port of Morehead City. State officials welcomed the news. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory credited U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis and Rep. Walter Jones with getting the funding fast-tracked.
The Morehead City Harbor has an authorized depth of 45 feet, but shoaling has limited its depth to 34 feet in some places.
The Corps last dredged the channel in 2014.Edit Module