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OCC Expedites Permits for Rye Marina Dredging

Patriot’s 96-foot tugboat Ocean King.

Patriot’s 96-foot tugboat Ocean King.

The Ocean King with a triple tow including the crane barge, followed by the scow and the dredge, with intermediate hawsers between.

Ocean and Coastal Consultants Engineering, PC (OCC) of Trumbull, Connecticut, guided the emergency dredging of the Rye Municipal Boat Basin and a portion of the Milton Harbor Federal Navigation Project in May of this year.

The work was necessitated by extreme erosion and subsequent sediment deposition in the marina from the Blind Brook watershed during tropical storms Irene and Sandy. Rye maintains the marina for emergency services and recreational watercraft, and the sediment deposition at the mouth of Blind Brook obstructed access to the marina and kept emergency services vessels from operating for much of the tidal cycle.

Dredging contractor Patriot Marine of Winthrop, Massachusetts began the project on May 2 and finished May 31, well within the five-week window authorized by the regulatory agencies.

Because of the emergency significance of the marina, FEMA was willing to fund a portion of the emergency dredging. Permits with the states of Connecticut and New York, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England and New York Districts, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office in Region 1 and 2 were expedited by OCC and FEMA. OCC staff is familiar with dredge permitting and planning, and even developed some of the guidance on permitting procedures, which helped in expediting the permits.

Although western Long Island Sound has a time-of-year restriction on dredging, OCC was able to obtain a five-week dredging window that was sufficient to remove the material from the mouth of the primary tributary in Milton Harbor, Rye and get it to the placement site. Though these permits normally require about a year to obtain, OCC was able to obtain all authorizations in about three months through some predredging coordination between the city of Rye and the regulatory community, Michael Ludwig, senior biologist and lead regulatory specialist for OCC, said.

Patriot Marine used its Komatsu PC 650 excavator, Patriot 389, equipped with a 3½ -cubic-yard hydraulic clamshell bucket, to remove a combination of silt and organic debris that had washed into about 800 feet of channel. The dredge loaded into the 800-cubic-yard scow Patriot 177, which then made the 40 nautical mile round trip to the Western Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site (WLIS) off Darien, Connecticut, pushed by the 96-foot tug Ocean King.

The dredging proceeded with a crew of six – an excavator operator, an engineer, two deck hands, tugboat captain and mate.

Chip Farrell, a fourth generation marine contractor, is owner of Patriot Marine along with partner Rob Lockyer. Farrell sails as captain of the Ocean King. Farrell said that he started the company nine years ago as a pile driving operation, and gradually moved into dredging, with a sideline in pile driving. In addition to the equipment used on this project, he runs a crane barge – Patriot 387 – to handle any lifting or equipment moving necessary on projects, and two other pushboats – the Afraid Knot and the Twister.

His family’s businesses were pile driving and dock building company Farrell Enterprises; McKie Company, and Farrell Ocean Services, a tug and barge business that served Navy vessels on the U.S. East Coast.

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