News and information for the worldwide dredging industry

DREDGING ROUNDUP NORTH AMERICA - June 2014

Port of Rochester Begins Dredging

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter took part in a ceremony May 13 marking the start of navigation dredging the previous day. Slaughter had announced in March that an additional $2.2 million had been secured for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to complete the work.

New York State to Fund Dredging

New York State Sen. Cathy Young (R-Olean) announced May 23 that she had secured $300,000 in this year’s state budget to dredge three Lake Erie projects in Chautauqua County.

Saying the dredging of Lake Erie will provide a valuable economic boost due to increased tourism, fishing and boating on the lake, Young said, the state will contribute $100,000 per project in the city of Dunkirk, the town of Hanover, and Barcelona Harbor in the town of Westfield.

After finalizing expense estimates, Dean Marine and Excavating of Michigan will begin in Barcelona Harbor in Westfield in late June and then go to Dunkirk Harbor before getting to the Sunset Bay Harbor at Cattaraugus Creek.

The Barcelona Harbor dredging project is being funded by federal money due to damage recorded after Superstorm Sandy.

Galveston District Issues Channel Dredging Permits

The Galveston Engineer District announced May 12 that it has permitted construction of the Port Authority’s Bayport and Barbours Cut channel improvement projects and approved the federal assumption of maintenance of the channels when construction is completed.

The improvement projects at the Port Authority’s two container terminals will deepen the channels from 40 feet to 45 feet, matching the depth of the Houston Ship Channel, so the container terminals can realize the benefits of the HSC widening and deepening project completed in 2005.

The project will also widen or realign the channels by up to 100 feet to better accommodate larger post-Panamax ships that are expected to call with increasing frequency.

The Port of Houston Authority awarded the $68 million construction contract to Orion Construction, with construction and dredging beginning soon afterward.

The work includes modification of the existing Bayport and Barbours Cut channels and berths and increasing capacity of a placement area for future dredged material.

“PHA is pleased that we will be awarding a contract at an excellent, competitive price,” PHA executive director Roger Guenther said.

“Overall, the project has really progressed at a quick pace. The federal approval of assumption of maintenance, which means the Corps of Engineers will resume responsibility for the channel after PHA’s improvements, was a great team effort between the Corps and PHA on a complicated process that has taken only 18 months.”

The port authority is funding the projects at its sole cost to ensure that the channels’ improvements are available in advance of the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2016.

The work is expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.

Corps Begins Removing Dredged Material Near Alma, Wisconsin

Black River Constructors Joint Venture began removing 500,000 cubic yards of dredged material from the Grand Encampment Island placement site in Buffalo County, Wisconsin, during the third week of May. The excavation will make room for material from this year’s maintenance of the nine-foot Mississippi River navigation channel.

Project owners are the St. Paul Engineer District, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The joint venture includes J.F. Brennan Marine of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and Hoffman Construction of Black River Falls, Wiconsin.

The project will extend throughout the summer.

The contractor plans to route the dredged material through the Alma Marina prior to placing it at two separate contractor-selected locations outside of Alma.

Massachusetts Town to Vote on Dredging

The bay of Kingston, Massachusetts, hasn’t been dredged since the 1950s, but that could change.

On June 2, Kingston will vote on a plan to participate in a regional dredging program with seven other coastal towns. The Kingston Town Meeting will be asked to approve $252,204, including $210,000 for the dredging and $42,000 in fees. That would be $42,000 a year for five years.

The cost is $14 per cubic yard at a maximum of 15,000 cubic yards. Kingston could sign up for another five-year cycle if the program continues. The entire area that could be dredged has been estimated at 55,000 cubic yards.

Other participating communities in Massachusetts would be Plymouth, Wareham, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield and Scituate.

Corps Finishes New York Beach Replenishment

The New York Engineer District, in conjunction with the Town of Southold and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), announced on April 14 the placement of nearly 100,000 cubic yards of sand replenishing severely eroded beaches east of Mattituck Inlet that will reduce risks from coastal storm.

“We’re extremely pleased to complete this vital project for the Town of Southold and area residents,” Corps of Engineer New York District Commander Col. Paul Owen said. “Working closely with state and local partners, we’ve improved the inlet’s navigability and beneficially re-used dredged sand to replenish severely eroded areas to the east of the inlet providing additional coastal storm risk reduction for communities in this area.”

Construction was 100 percent federally funded, with a $2.2 million contract awarded to Village Dock of Port Jefferson, New York, to dredge the inlet to 13 feet. Sand was also moved from west of the inlet and placed east of the inlet.

Despite harsh weather conditions, work on the project continued on a 24-hour cycle in order to be completed as fast as possible. Portions of the inlet between the jetties were dredged to 16 feet to obtain enough sand to complete the berm.

Environmental gains were also realized. The district worked closely with the NYSDEC completing additional bird-nesting habitat at higher elevations above the creek, and said it would conduct a multi-year study of Long Island bays and creeks examining the reproductive activity of winter flounder.

GLDD Completes Work for Jacksonville District

The Jacksonville Engineer District announced May 1 that operations have wound down on the Brevard County Beach Erosion Control Project with the completion of the North Reach; the South Reach was completed in January. Dredged beach sand now reinforces more than 10 miles of Brevard County shoreline.

The sand placement reconstructed areas of eroded beach and increased storm protection to upland development along portions of Brevard County. Side benefits are that it also helps restore shorebird and marine turtle habitat and enhances recreational opportunities.

The South Reach work came in response to impacts from Hurricane Sandy’s passage in 2012, and was 100 percent federally funded under the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency (FCCE) program. The Jacksonville District placed 7.5 million cubic yards of sand on 38.5 miles of eroded beaches in Florida as part of the FCCE program. A combination of federal funding was used to complete renourishment in the North Reach.

Corps Project Manager Cynthia Perez said the North Reach work began in mid-January, but abnormal weather conditions caused some delays. “It was the worst weather we’ve seen in a long time in the Brevard area. The weather kept changing the shoreline conditions from the original surveys, and three and four-foot sea swells made conducting new surveys by boat dangerous. High sea waves, winds and near-shore wave turbulence also impacted the beach configuration itself,” she said.

When possible, the Corps of Engineers’ contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (GLDD) Company, conducted 24-hour operations, pumping sand from an offshore site to the shoreline. Including both reaches, crews placed more than 1.66 million cubic yards of beach quality sand on the county shoreline.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), U.S. Department of the Interior, played an important role in supplying the offshore borrow area that provided sand to the county. Through BOEM, GLDD was authorized to dredge up to 2.4 million cubic yards of beach quality sand from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to help rebuild approximately 10 miles of Brevard County shoreline.

“Our cooperation with BOEM and their role as the only federal agency authorized to grant access to OCS sand strengthens our ability to help coastal communities restore impacted areas and build resilience,” Perez said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Completes Delaware Bay Beach Restoration

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced May 1 that it has completed the first of 31 Hurricane Sandy coastal resilience projects focusing on rebuilding natural areas along the Atlantic Coast.

The $1.65 million beach restoration project restored five beaches on Cape May, New Jersey’s inner shoreline, including Kimbles Beach, Reeds Beach, Moores Beach, Cooks Beach and Pierces Point.

More than 800 tons of debris, including chunks of asphalt and bricks, concrete pipes, slabs and piling, were cleared from 1.5 miles of affected beach since the first phase of the project in 2013. Contractors brought in more than 45,000 tons of locally mined sand to replace the two to three feet of original beach lost to storm surge and erosion after the storm.

Along with the restoration of coastal wildlife habitat, the project provides the added benefit of enhanced storm protection for nearby residents, as well as public recreational opportunities. The beaches will play a critical role in providing quality seasonal spawning ground for returning horseshoe crabs expected in early May, whose eggs serve as a food source for migrating shore birds like the ruddy turnstone, the shortbilled dowitcher and the red knot, which is being considered for inclusion on the Federal Endangered Species List.

Eric Schrading, field supervisor for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s New Jersey Field Office, said, “We’re excited to have this project completed so quickly with the assistance of our partners. This is an important restoration project – not only for horseshoe crab spawning, but also for shorebirds foraging, in particular the proposed listed red knot.”

This project, the first of a wave of coastal resilience projects funded by the Department of the Interior through the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2013, is a partnership with the American Littoral Society, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Additional work was coordinated with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Corps: EIS Required for Kansas River Dredging

The Kansas City Engineer District determined that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be necessary before dredging operations may be reauthorized in the Kansas River.

Six sand and gravel companies are proposing dredging operations at 12 locations in the Kansas River, and five have permits issued under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act that are valid through July 31, 2014. The Kansas River is a major source of sand and gravel for the Kansas City metropolitan area and other communities along the river, for use primarily in concrete production.

A public notice concerning authorization of new permits was issued in November 2011, and the Corps of Engineers received 382 comments from the public, with 357 in opposition to the proposed work. An Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared by a consulting firm at the expense of the applicants and submitted to the Corps of Engineers for review in September 2013. Thr Corps was unable to conclude that there are no potentially significant impacts associated with activities proposed by the dredging companies.

The National Environmental Policy Act requires a “Finding of No Significant Impact” in order for the Corps of Engineers to grant a permit following the completion of an EA. Therefore, completion of an EIS will be necessary to further investigate and consider the dredging work, assess public interest and environmental factors and reach a permit decision. The previous and only EIS prepared for consideration of dredging on the Kansas River was completed in 1990.

The public will have the opportunity during the EIS process to participate and provide comments regarding the work for consideration by the Corps of Engineers.

During the interim period prior to the completion of the EIS and new permit decisions, the existing permits for dredging on the Kansas River will be extended subject to the limits and conditions of those authorizations under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act.

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