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Dredging Roundup – North America

Maine Harbor Dredge Funding Approved

The Corps of Engineers will allocate $3.5 million to complete the dredging of Wells Harbor, Maine, the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) announced on February 26.

The town will be responsible for removing and reinstalling the 63 moorings in the harbor. This will be done by a contractor, and will cost approximately a half a million dollars.

The completed harbor will accommodate an additional 87 moorings, for a total of 150.

Dredging will begin this fall or winter. Carter said it will be the town’s responsibility to prepare the harbor for the dredging.


North Carolina Could Find Dredge Funds in Boat Fees

North Carolina Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) introduced a bill that would increase boat registration fees to fund dredging in shallow draft inlets.

The bill, called the Shallow Draft Inlet Dredging Fund, would increase North Carolina’s vessel registration and titling fees.

It now costs $15 a year to register a vessel with the state or $40 for a three-year period, regardless of size. Under Senate Bill 58, the fees would increase according to the vessel’s length.

If approved, the bill would become effective on July 1.


Santa Ana River Dredging Extended

The Santa Ana River Dredging Project was extended through the end of March following a late start by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, city officials in Newport Beach, California announced on March 19. The project, designed to restore channel depths to improve the circulation and tidal flushing needed to maintain the salt marsh habitat was supposed to be completed by mid-March. The Corps of Engineers said it planned to work extended hours and weekends and to deploy extra crew to get the project done. The project includes beach sand replenishment. City officials say the California least tern island within the Santa Ana River Marsh will be cleared of weedy vegetation to help improve the nesting habitat of this endangered species. Newport Beach officials and the Corps insisted on extending the project instead of demobilizing and starting it back up in August.


EPA Orders More Kalamazoo River Dredging

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an administrative order on March 14 that requires Enbridge Energy Management to do additional dredging in Michigan’s Kalamazoo River to clean up oil from the company’s July 2010 pipeline spill. EPA’s order requires dredging in sections of the river above Ceresco Dam, upstream of Battle Creek, and in the Morrow Lake Delta.

EPA has repeatedly documented the presence of recoverable submerged oil in the sections of the river identified in the order and has determined that submerged oil in these areas can be recovered by dredging. The dredging activity required by EPA’s order will prevent submerged oil from migrating to downstream areas where it will be more difficult or impossible to recover.

Enbridge had five days to respond to the order and 15 days to provide EPA with a work plan. Dredging was expected to begin in the spring, and is not expected to close the river. EPA’s order also requires Enbridge to maintain sediment traps throughout the river to capture oil outside the dredge areas.

(See related story in Battelle Contaminated Sediment Conference report in this issue.)


Thimble Shoals Channel Cleared In Emergency Dredging

Hazardous shoaling in the Thimble Shoals federal navigation channel launched action between local and federal agencies as they raced to reopen a closed navigation lane.
The Virginia Pilots Association alerted the Norfolk Engineer District of the hazard on March 13, and within hours, a survey team was mobilized.

 The results of the survey, presented to the pilots and U.S. Coast Guard, indicated an eight-foot shoal in the middle of the channel, causing the U.S. Coast Guard captain of the port to restrict the channel to one-way traffic in the vicinity of the shoaling for vessels drawing over 40 feet. The hopper dredge B.E. Lindholm from Weeks Marine Inc., which was operating off the coast for the Virginia Beach and Sandbridge hurricane protection beach re-nourishment projects, was dispatched to remove the hazard. 

The Coast Guard opened the channel for normal traffic at 6:30 p.m. March 17 after the Corps survey confirmed the hazard had been removed.


Savannah Gets Another $50 Million

The Georgia State Legislature approved another $50 million in funds for the Port of Savannah in a measure proposed by Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, bringing the amount the state has allocated to the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) to $231.1 million. The new funding was part of Deal’s FY2014 budget request, and was included in the final version of the state spending plan passed by the General Assembly March 29. The project will deepen the Savannah Harbor from 42 to 47 feet to accommodate post-Panamax vessels.

The overall cost of the project is anticipated to be about $652 million. The Record of Decision, signifying final federal approval for the project, was issued in October 2012, allowing the project to receive federal construction dollars.


Heavy Metals Found At Boyne City Marina

On April 1, Boyne City, Michigan applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for a grant to help dredge 3,000 cubic yards of material from the Boyne City Municipal Marina. The city had already been awarded $105,000 for emergency dredging by the state waterways commission due to low water.

But tests performed by Sagasser & Associates revealed higher-than-expected levels of lead, copper, chromium and zinc in the sediment, meaning dredging could cost more than expected. The levels mean the sediment must be disposed of in either a Type 2 landfill or in an upland site with a restricted deed.

At a recent Boyne City Commission meeting, Harbormaster Barb Brooks explained that the city will use the grant money it has been already awarded and won’t spend any more city funds on dredging, but will instead scale back its project if the grant is insufficient.


Weeks to Replenish New Jersey Beaches

A Hurricane Sandy aid package includes $102 million to restore New Jersey beaches devastated by the storm. The Corps of Engineers project, which includes most beaches from Sea Bright to Manasquan, will be the world’s largest beach fill project by sand volume, according to a May 3 press release by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.).

The project will return the beaches to their original design profiles, making them wider than they were before Sandy.

The Corps will complete the project through four contracts. The contract for Sea Bright to Monmouth Beach will be awarded in June, and the remaining three contracts: Belmar to Manasquan, Long Branch, and Asbury to Avon will be awarded in July. The Corps expects to complete the entire project by the beginning of next year. 


Judge Rules on Fox River Dredging

A federal judge in the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled April 30 that seven companies will continue to be responsible for dredging Wisconsin’s Fox River to remove decades’ worth of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from its bed.

District Judge William Griesbach granted an injunction requiring seven companies to comply with an order governing PCB cleanup from a section of river from the De Pere dam to the bay of Green Bay. Wisconsin and the federal government wanted the injunction to continue the cleanup, which began more than four years ago.

The seven companies—NCR Corp., CBC Coating Inc., Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP, Menasha Corp., P.H. Glatfelter Co., U.S. Paper Mills Corp. and WTM I Companies—put PCBS in the river in the course of their carbon-paper recycling operations for decades.


Penobscot Bay Dredging

The New England Engineer District plans to deepen the channels serving two piers in Maine’s Penobscot Bay at Mack Point to 40 feet from the existing 35 feet. The project will involve removing 929,000 cubic yards of material, to return the channels to the originally-authorized depths.

The entrance channel would also be widened from 500 feet to 650 feet. This area also would be dredged to a depth of 40 feet. The maintenance dredging part of the project would produce 37,000 cubic yards of material. The improvement portion of the project would produce 892,000 cubic yards.


Committee Endorses $5.2 Million Washington Island Dredging

A legislative committee has endorsed a $5.2 million dredging project for the Washington Island harbor in Michigan, which has not been dredged since 1939. One of a string of islands, it is located at the entrance to Michigan’s Green Bay.

The motion approved by the Joint Finance Committee on April 30 calls for channel dredging between Northport and Detroit Harbor.

If approved by the full legislature and governor, work could begin in August.


McIntyre Announces Dredge Funds

Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) announced April 8 that that Lockwoods Folly Inlet and Whiskey Creek (along the AIWW near Carolina and Kure Beach) will receive $305,000 in federal funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and protect these inlets from future erosion.

Lockwoods Folly Inlet will receive $185,000 for dredging in the inlet, while $120,000 has been awarded for dredging of the Whiskey Creek.

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