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New England District Plans Partial Dredging of Clinton Entrance

The New England District, Corps of Engineers plans to perform maintenance dredging federal navigation project in Clinton, Connecticut, using the Government-owned hopper Dredge Currituck.

This proposed work involves partial maintenance dredging of the entrance channel at Clinton Harbor, which consists of an 8-foot channel at mean lower low water (MLLW), 100 feet wide, from Long Island Sound to the upper ends of the wharves at Clinton; an 8-foot anchorage area extending 600 feet above the end of the channel with widths of 150 to 250 feet and extending 50 feet south of the channel; and a stone dike between Cedar Island and the mainland.

The channel now has a controlling depth of two feet in places.

The entrance channel was last maintained in June 2000 by the Currituck, and a public notice was issued by the Corps of Engineers for this project in June 2007, calling for full maintenance of the navigation project, using a hydraulic dredge pumping about 45,000 cubic yards of material directly onto Hammonasset State Beach. All appropriate environmental approvals were secured to perform that work, but there are not enough federal funds to perform a full-scale maintenance dredging project at this point.

Fortunately, the existing federal funds will allow a partial dredging project of the shallowest areas of the entrance channel into Clinton Harbor to about -5 feet mean lower low water (MLLW), instead of the authorized -8-foot MLLW project described in the June 2007 public notice. This proposal will remove about 20,000 cubic yards of shoal material from about two to 2.5 acres of the entrance channel.

The Currituck will place the material in the littoral zone offshore of the Hammonasset State Beach, and it will be spread throughout the beach and the littoral zones by natural wave action.

The project is anticipated for May and June of this year.

The Federal channel and anchorage areas in Clinton Harbor were authorized by the River & Harbor Act of March 2, 1945, and completed in 1950. The project serves 13 commercial marinas and about 1,150 recreational boats. The controlling depth in the federal channel is two feet MLLW in some places. This reduction in available channel depth is a safety hazard, with increased potential for vessel groundings.

Bringing the Clinton Harbor Federal navigation project to its full authorized dimensions will depend on the availability of federal funds in the future.

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