The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) celebrated completion of the 2023 construction season’s work on a new wetland ecosystem being built in Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.
USACE and its contractor, Michigan-based Ryba Marine Construction Co., placed bedding stone across the mouth of the abandoned Shipping Slip 3, forming the first layer of a submerged breakwater to contain material dredged from the Buffalo River and placed in the slip to create the base of the new ecosystem.
“The Corps of Engineers is excited to share this season’s progress on the Outer Harbor wetland project with Western New York,” said Lt. Col. Colby Krug, commander of the USACE Buffalo District. “The positive impact this project will have on generations of people, plants, and wildlife across the community is something I’m proud of, especially as a Buffalo native.”
“This $14.8 million initiative is that latest component of a two-decade, more-than $200 million, coordinated, multi-agency effort to take Buffalo’s greatest natural asset, its Lake Erie shoreline, and convert it from an inaccessible post-industrial wasteland into an interconnected system of parks and urban natural habitat, the acreage of which is roughly equal to New York City’s Central Park,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “I thank the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation under the direction of Governor Kathy Hochul, and the Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the leadership of Lt. Col. Colby Krug for their leadership in advancing this important work.”
“It’s been exciting to watch the progress in creating Slip 3’s new wetland ecosystem,” said Mark Wendel, president of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation. “Directly adjacent to Wilkeson Pointe, where an extensive, year-and-a-half long improvement project is starting this fall, the Slip 3 project will help renew key elements of the aquatic habitat that New York State and Governor Hochul recognize are crucial to a vibrant waterfront.”
“Addressing legacy pollution from the Great Lakes and improving critical ecosystems is an investment in public health and our future,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “EPA is proud to work with the partners through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, to improve and restore aquatic habitat along Buffalo’s waterfront area. This work will benefit all of Buffalo’s communities and the natural world for generations to come.”
In partnership with ECHDC, the overall $14.8 million project aims to reverse coastal wetland degradation in the Niagara River system and across the Great Lakes. Decades of industrial development and hardening of shorelines has diminished fish nursery and spawning habitats in these areas.
The project is being conducted in three phases – construction of the breakwater, placement of dredged material, and formation of aquatic and sub-aquatic habitat.
This season’s construction, which started in September and concluded on Oct. 19, included placement of 17,200 tons of bedding stone in Slip 3. The bedding stone is expected to displace silty sediment at the bottom of the slip and settle over the winter.
During the celebration, Krug, Higgins, Wendel, and USEPA Public Affairs Officer Mike Basile, along with members of the ECHDC Board of Directors, representatives of New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s office, New York State Assembly District 149, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, and the City of Buffalo Common Council contributed to the project’s current phase by ceremoniously tossing stones into the slip at the site of the breakwater.
USACE and Ryba Marine will resume construction in 2024, with placement of additional bedding stone, followed by 4.8 feet of underlayer stone and 7.2 feet of armor stone.
The completed breakwater will extend across the entire mouth of the slip, with a portion submerged to allow for connectivity to the Lake Erie and the increased health of the future wetlands. Construction of the breakwater (Phase 1) is expected to conclude in September 2024.
In the project’s second phase, approximately 285,000 cubic yards of sediment dredged from the Buffalo River over a six-year period (an estimated three cycles) will be placed in Slip 3 to create 6.7 acres of coastal wetland habitat. The first cycle of maintenance dredging used to contribute to the project is contracted to start in October 2024. The sediment is certified as clean by state and federal standards and approved for this beneficial use.
In the project’s third phase, planting of native species will include submerged and emergent aquatic vegetation that can compete with invasive species and provide high-quality aquatic habitat for both aquatic species and migratory/resident bird species. The new habitat will also include gravel beds, rock piles, root wads, logs, and existing dock piles to provide maximum habitat complexity and structure.
Project information and safety signage will be installed along Fuhrman Boulevard outside Slip 3 and neighboring Wilkeson Pointe to keep the public informed and help ensure safety at the site. Hazard marker buoys will be placed to mark where the breakwater stone has been placed since the entirety of the breakwater will be submerged until underlayer stone is placed next season.
Plans for habitat creation at the Outer Harbor used lessons learned from previous partnership between USACE and the City of Buffalo in the first successful beneficial use project on the Great Lakes – restoring a wetland ecosystem at Unity Island. Slip 3 was identified by a multiagency committee as a habitat management opportunity in the Niagara River Area of Concern.
The feasibility study for this project was 100% federally funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). USACE and ECHDC executed a Project Partnership Agreement in January 2022 enabling the design and implementation phase, now underway. Design and implementation is cost-shared 65% Federal (USACE) and 35% Non-Federal (ECHDC with funding from the GLRI).
Based on the current USACE construction budget, the ECHDC total commitment over the course of the project will be $4,972,000 over a 12-year period. This funding is from the New York Power Authority, through relicensing agreements tied to the operation of the Niagara Power Project.
Renderings of the site are available at: https://esd.ny.gov/sites/default/files/ECHDC-slip-No3-images.pdf
More information about the USACE Buffalo District is available online at: https://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/.
The Buffalo District delivers world class engineering solutions to the Great Lakes Region, the Army and the Nation in order to ensure national security, environmental sustainability, water resource management, and emergency assistance during peace and war.
It’s already hot and humid on Saturday, and it’s only eight a.m. in Tampa, Florida. Channelside Drive is bumper-to-bumper traffic. Even though the temperature hasn’t changed much in the eight years since I lived there, the area has changed dramatically.
According to the U.S. Census, the population percent change from April 1, 2022, to July 1, 2022, has increased by 3.5%. Tampa is awake from its sleepy potential, and it’s evident that the demands of the port have grown as well.
I parked my car and grabbed my gear because I needed to see it for myself: traffic, families, lovers, and friends all moving to the hum of suitcases laden with vacation wear and waiting to embark on a cruise ship to some far away location. In the distance, I observed container ships and other commercial vessels hunkered in the port for the weekend.
Tampa’s rapid growth has occurred over several years, and I am not the only one that has noticed. Legislators, commercial entities, local government, federal agencies, and non-governmental agencies alike acknowledge the growth with the momentum of federal dollars and a shared cost.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its partners are in the feasibility phase of deepening Tampa Harbor. This project will impact the area in several ways. It will stimulate economic growth, ensure safe, reliable transportation, and provide material to create preservation, conservation, and recreational projects in the region.
“Port Tampa Bay is Florida’s largest port in cargo tonnage and land area. It serves as a major cruise port and services a diverse mix of bulk, break-bulk, container commodities, and energy products that serve central Florida. The port contributes over $17 billion in economic impact supporting more than 85,000 jobs. The Tampa Harbor Federal Navigation Channel was last deepened in the 1980s.
The project itself consists of a channel from the Gulf of Mexico to port of Tampa and Tampa. Its features include the entrance channel from the Gulf of Mexico to Hillsborough Bay. At Hillsborough Bay, the channel splits into two legs, with one continuing west to Port Tampa and the other east to Gadsden Point. The west channel continues to Port Tampa and ends in a turning basin. The west channel to Gadsden Point continues north through Hillsborough Bay towards the upper channels and includes Alafia River and Big Bend. The project depth varies from 45 feet in the entrance channel at the Egmont Bar Channel to 32 feet in the Alafia River. The length of the project is about 67 miles including 3.6 miles in the Alafia River. Port Tampa Bay has more cargo tonnage than all other Florida ports combined.” (Report Summary – Tampa Harbor Navigation Improvement Study.)
I say all this so that a picture forms in your head of the scope and scale of the proposed work, as well as how much and how quickly Tampa has grown in the past several years and the future potential for continued growth in this region.
Now, ask yourself how this growth has and will impact the region’s cultural and natural resources.
Let’s first look at the area’s rich cultural history.
The Port of Tampa Bay has a rich cultural history that started with the area’s indigenous people around 3000 years ago. The location was valuable for trade and rich in natural resources.
The territory then passed through the hands of the Spanish multiple times, acquired by the British, and eventually, became part of the United States.
Fast-forward to the 19th century, when the merchants of the Tampa Bay area lobbied for federal support to deepen the harbor’s channels. In 1905, the U.S. Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the channel to a depth of 20-feet.
This was the first recorded dredging by USACE and the first time local, state, federal, and private industry worked together to build the Port of Tampa Bay.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works with their local, state, federal, and nongovernmental partners to realize projects that deliver the most economically progressive outcomes within cultural and environmental guidelines. We leverage strategies within our projects that aim to create adaptable and sustainable systems,” says USACE Ecologist and Navigation Team Lead, Aubree Hershorin, –
Projects like the deepening of Tampa Harbor go through a rigorous planning process and before they can be authorized. The process includes five distinct phases:
2. Alternative Formulation and Analysis,
3. a Feasibility -Level analysis,
4. Final Report Release- State and Agency Review, and
5. The Chiefs Report.
USACE also implements a six-step planning process in the following order:
1. Identify problems, opportunities, objectives, constraints,
2. Inventory and forecast conditions,
3. Formulate alternative plans,
4. Evaluate alternative plans,
5. Compare alternative plans, and
6. Select a plan.
Fact Sheet: Tampa Harbor Federal Navigation Improvement Study (oclc.org)
Let us remember the Principles and Guidelines identified in the Water Resources Act 1986 that established four accounts for evaluating alternatives: the National Economic Development account, the Regional Economic Development account, Other Social Effects, and Environmental Quality. Benefits derived from all four of these accounts are considered when choosing a plan.
There are meetings with partners and stakeholders, discussions with the public, and the opportunity for the public to comment on the project, all before a single grain of sediment is placed.
These processes are our way of tackling challenging questions and finding solutions that provide a positive impact. Past projects have helped the USACE and its partners discover how dredge material is a valuable resource and how it can be repurposed.
The deepening of the channel will result in the dredging of an estimated amount of up to 23-million cubic yards, equivalent to 7,034 Olympic swimming pools filled with sediment Now that’s a lot of material!
“Knowing the potential amount and type of sediment helps the team determine the placement site and its benefits to that particular site. For example, some of the study’s sediment may be used to restore Egmont Key. The restoration of the island will benefit shorebird and sea turtle habitat.” Says Hershorin
One unintended benefit of using dredged material at Dredge Material Management Areas (DMMA) 2-D and 3-D is the valuable shorebird habitat they provide. The Jacksonville District built the sites between 1978 and 1982 while deepening Tampa Harbor to 43 feet. The islands have provided the Port of Tampa Bay and USACE with places to store dredge material. Dependent on dredge material cycles on either island, it also provides habit for shorebird populations to flourish that is protected from human disturbances.
A small team of engineers apply sunscreen, put on life vests, and gather their backpacks to board a small craft provided by our partners, the National Audubon Society. The captain of the vessel, Jeff Liechty, is also a National Audubon coastal biologist at Florida Coastal Sanctuaries and our guide through the site. At high noon, the crew took off from the boat dock across the Bay and made their way to DMMA 3-D. Along the way, I could see how prolific the bird population is: pelicans, roseate spoonbills, and oystercatchers are just a few of the many bird species that have found a haven on the resource-rich island .
Upon reaching the island, birds lined the shore and circled in the air above. As we carefully navigated our way up the hill to inspect the site following Liechty’s path, nestling birds were tucked away in their hiding spots nearby.
Liechty says that Audubon, USACE, and the Port of Tampa Bay have maintained a longstanding partnership. The collaboration serves the dual purpose of efficiently managing dredged material to ensure efficient navigation depths for vessels accessing the port, while simultaneously providing bird habitat.
“DMMA 3-D island is a special place in the bay. It provides a variety of habitats including uplands for nesting, interior lagoons, and foraging areas. The island also provides refuge from the disturbances found on our beaches,“ Liechty emphasized.
Because of collaborative efforts between USACE, Audubon, Port Tampa Bay, and the partners that are part of the Tampa Bay Migratory Bird Protection Committee, biologists and volunteers have been able to monitor and collect data on the birds that use DMMA 3-D.
Liechty says tens of thousands of birds come to the island throughout the year.
As USACE and its partners work through the improvement study, they have many factors to consider. There are adverse and beneficial effects on cultural and natural resources. There’s sea level rise, wind, tidal changes, boat wakes, and the weight and depth of cargo and cruise ships. The variables that this team must consider and work through are numerous.
Armed with data collected over time, an information-rich report, an environmental impact statement, and a steady movement to incorporate nature-based solutions, the Tampa Harbor Navigation Improvement Study makes its way through the processes needed to make the best decisions not only for this moment but for the next 50 years. Right now, the team has reached the Tentatively Selected Plan (TSP) milestone.
Since you, the reader, made it this far, you might wonder if there are adverse impacts that could result from this type of project such as increased boat traffic, the disruption of the wildlife population and recreational activities. Why not leave the channel the way it is? What is the cost of doing nothing? The reason is that Tampa is growing and the demand for goods by consumers is still going strong by any means, whether improvements to the infrastructure take place or not.
According to Mckinsey & Company’s article, “The Consumer sector in 2030: Trends and questions to consider”, Dec.1, 2015, “Globally,middle-class spending will almost triple by 2030 and that more than 75 percent of the world’s population will own a mobile phone .”
Not moving forward and planning for a sustainable future leaves the area and its resources at risk.
Hershorin says, “This plan is unique. While some of the dredging components of the Tentatively Selected Plan are traditional, we were able to incorporate smarter methods for deepening while avoiding impacts to hardbottom environment and opportunities for beneficially using the dredged materials to create numerous types of habitat in several locations in Tampa Bay.”
The Tampa Harbor Navigation Improvement Study aligns itself with a nature-based approach in that it will reduce our environmental footprint by enhancing sustainability, conserving fuel, and repurposing precious resources. USACE is moving toward delivering economic, environmental, and social benefits through collaboration with our local, state and federal partners.
The cost of investing in our future and the channel’s future is priceless.
Many Thanks to: Aubree Hershorin, Bryan Merrill, Graceann Sparkman, and Jon Simon Suarez
The DCV HAYWARD is currently experiencing a significant overhaul at Bayonne Dry Dock (BDD) as it prepares to meet the latest industry standards. This major refit aims to upgrade its crane infrastructure and align with the requirements of the Coast Guard Certificate of Inspection and the American Bureau of Shipping Classification.
As a part of this initiative, Bayonne Dry Dock has taken comprehensive measures to install a state-of-the-art main crane on HAYWARD’s forward deck. This cutting-edge piece of machinery boasts an impressive lift capacity of 20 tons. Further enhancing its capabilities, the crane will be powered by a new hydraulic power unit, driven by a Cummins EPA Tier 3 diesel engine.
A significant note for environmental enthusiasts is the introduction of environmentally-friendly hydraulic oils. Both the new main crane and the rescue boat davit crane will be utilizing these eco-friendly lubricants, reflecting a growing commitment to sustainable practices in maritime operations.
But the upgrades don't stop there. In addition to the crane installations, HAYWARD has undergone a series of other crucial repairs and maintenance works. Some of the significant efforts include the replacement of wasted steel in the hull and main deck, propeller and shaft reconditioning, meticulous cleaning of fuel tanks, and the diligent maintenance of sea valves and sea chests.
These extensive refits not only ensure the HAYWARD's continued compliance with maritime regulations but also underscore a commitment to safety, performance, and environmental responsibility in the shipping industry. As the works progress, industry insiders and maritime enthusiasts will be keenly watching the transformation of the DCV HAYWARD into a vessel equipped for the challenges of modern-day shipping.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District (SWG) awarded the fourth and final multimillion dollar contract for the Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project (CCSCIP) September 25, 2023.
Callan Marine will receive approximately $102.9 million to complete dredging on the final stretch of the project—the Inner Harbor reach. With the final contract the entire project will beneficially use roughly five million cubic yards of dredged material.
“Through extensive resource agency coordination, cooperation with our non-federal sponsor—the Port of Corpus Christi—a close relationship with the Texas General Land Office and a tremendous partnership with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries program, about five million cubic yards of dredged material will be turned into almost 1,000 acres of something useful while leaving capacity in upland placement areas for routine maintenance dredging disposal,” said Lisa Finn, SWG’s environmental program manager for operations.
The overall channel improvement project would combat erosion within the channel by providing 395 acres of sacrificial erosion protection along with the construction of a 2,000-foot breakwater—to tie into a currently planned 4,000-foot breakwater—in the Nueces Delta. The Nueces Delta is currently eroding at a staggering rate of about 8.2 feet per year, Finn said.
The project also aims to nourish degraded habitats by converting 206 acres of open water in an estuarine marsh. An additional 120 acres of intertidal living shoreline will be created to provide shoreline protection and prevent road overtopping, Finn said.
The CCSCIP will also create another 200 acres of an industrial use site for local economic and commercial entities.
“With this project, the Galveston District makes great strides toward the Chief of Engineers’ vision to increase beneficial use of dredged material,” said Col. Rhett Blackmon, SWG’s district commander.
“This is one of the largest beneficial use projects the district has ever constructed,” said Chris Frabotta, SWG’s operations chief. “That much dredged material would fill up the Astrodome more than three times.”
The project will improve approximately 11.9 miles of the associated shipping channel, effectively widening the channel from 400 feet to 530 feet and deepening it from 47 feet to 54 feet.
SWG contributes to the wellbeing and economic success of local communities through its beneficial use of dredged material. Annually, the Galveston District dredges approximately 30 to 40 million cubic yards of material. USACE employs environmentally and economically responsible ways to utilize dredged materials for beneficial applications and improve eroded coastlines through beach nourishment and beneficial use programs. For more information on SWG’s beneficial use of dredged materials, visit: https://usace-galveston-district-beneficial-use-ceswg.hub.arcgis.com/.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Galveston District, plays a key role in America's economy by keeping waterways open for navigation and commerce.
The Galveston District is directly responsible for monitoring more than 1,000 miles of channel along the Texas Gulf Coast.
This navigation mission sometimes requires getting help from some friends in the USACE Wilmington District (SAW).
A 10-person crew of USACE civilians brought the Multipurpose Vessel (MPV) Brandy Station to Galveston this week.
The MPV Brandy Station will work on missions previously completed by the MPV Snell. The Snell worked in the Galveston District from 2017 to 2023.The Brandy Station made it from Wilmington, N.C. to Galveston in seven days. Talon Smith is the captain of the ship, and the crew works 16 days on, then takes 12 days off.
The new MPV has similar mission capabilities as the Snell, to include marine construction, navigation hazard removal, and clamshell and hydraulic dredging for small critical shoals in federal channels and adjacent non-federal channels. The crew performs clamshell dredging by attaching a bucket to the onboard crane. Hydraulic dredging uses pumps and pipes to move dredge material.
“We have some dredging work we’re going to be doing,” said Joen Petersen, SAW Floating Plant Chief, aboard the Brandy Station, July 24, 2023.
The MPV is also outfitted with pumps for small dredge jobs where material can be pumped 1,500 to 2,000 feet.
Additionally, the Brandy Station can support maintenance and storm relief for U.S. facilities and territories and maritime transport.
“The vessel itself has a worldwide capability; about a 10,000-mile range,” Petersen said.“We carry just under 90,000 gallons of fuel. We have the capability to make our own water if we need to,” Petersen said. “The deck itself will carry 350 tons. The crane on board right now is a 135-ton crane and it has about a 200-foot reach. It replaced the old crane on here which had a 35-ton capability with an 80-foot maximum reach.
”To put it in perspective, the Snell would fit on the deck of the Brandy Station, Petersen said.Upcoming projects for the Brandy Station and its’ crew include mooring maintenance and construction at the Brazos and Colorado River Locks.
“We’ll go down there and put the new buoys in,” Petersen said. “We’ll drive the subsurface anchors down to put all those in.”The Brandy Station can also repair lock walls damaged by barge traffic, build docks and drive sheet piles. Sheet piles are steel sheets with interlocking edges which can be used to recreate retaining walls.
The Brandy Station can also install navigation buoys, Petersen said.Using the crane to lift and drop a large steel beam like a hammer, the crew pounds anchors 40 feet down into the ocean or river floor, with two-and-a-half-inch chain attached to the anchor. Then the crew pulls on the chain to make sure the anchor stays put. After the pull test, mooring buoys are attached which are then used by tugs and barges.
The Brandy Station can pound spuds (steel cylinder anchors) which enables the vessel to do construction work, Petersen said.
The ship also has a front landing ramp, so the crane can be offloaded with relative ease for work from land, Petersen said.
The Brandy Station can also help with disaster relief, Petersen said. The vessel was used to transport telephone poles to Puerto Rico in 2017 for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
Onboard desalination equipment can produce 2,000 gallons or 16,000 bottles of water a day.
The deck can be configured for use as a container ship, which can carry up to 30 shipping containers.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has awarded Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc. of Panama City, FL, a contract worth $256.9 million for the design and construction of a Medium Class Hopper Dredge (MCHD) to replace the Dredge McFARLAND of the Corps’ Philadelphia District.
The Dredge McFARLAND is one of four oceangoing hopper dredges owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The new MCHD will play a critical role in enabling the Corps to continue to deliver its navigation mission and provide for safe, reliable, effective, and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation systems for vital national security, commerce, and recreation needs. The new dredge is estimated to be placed into service in 2027 and replaces the 57-year-old McFARLAND.
Cat Island Dredged Material Management Facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin is operated and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Chicago District.
In 2013 USACE started their, long-term, dredging project to improve navigation by placing clean dredged material in 3 open-water cells at Cat Island and is rebuilding a damaged historic island chain in Green Bay. The end goal is to turn over the completed project to Brown County for continued maintenance and habitat development.
This dredging helped reemerge beach sand which was the perfect home for the piping plover who started arriving in 2015, the first sighting in the Green Bay area in 75 years.
The piping plover is an endangered species in the Great Lakes region and a threatened species in the rest of the country. Currently, only 71 nesting pairs are reported in the U.S. with three of those pairs making Cat Island their home. This has changed the operation schedule for the dredging project.
USACE has worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), and the nonprofit National Audubon Society, to ensure the birds have priority in the area from April to August while the birds are nesting, and the fledglings are growing.
Chicago District employees took the time to observe the plovers in their habitat to understand characteristics, benefits and threats of their unique environment, to continue to help protect and promote growth of the species.
“We are building a partnership among all agencies and working together to maintain Cat Island”, says Chicago District Regulatory Project Manager, Colin Smalley. “It’s about balancing what they are trying to accomplish with the needs of our agency.”
Jade Arneson, a biologist with USFWS, and Tom Prestby, from Audubon, explained the tracking of the birds and their ultimate goal.
“98% of the Great Lakes [piping plover] population is banded and tracked. Most of the breeding pairs are located in Michigan. The goal is to get 150 pairs in the region with 50 of those being outside Michigan”, says Prestby.
The birds are very well camouflaged but once they are found, GPS is used to track their nests. Wire cages are then placed to protect the nests from predators and better help see the location for observation.
At the time of the visit, USFWS received a message that another nest had been found on Longtail Point, nearby. They were immediately able to take steps to protect the nest and start monitoring the new location.
“To have another site in lower Green Bay, with habitat the birds have nested on, is huge and very exciting,” Arneson says. “Thank you for your partnership. Without you [USACE] we would not have this.”
USACE and USFWS, along with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, will continue to coordinate to meet Endangered Species Act (ESA) requirements and ensure continuation of the navigation mission while exploring dredging window options.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC, Houston, Texas, was awarded a $157,399,830 firm-fixed-price contract for new and maintenance hopper dredging of the Freeport Harbor Channel. Bids were solicited via the internet with three received. Work will be performed in Freeport, Texas, with an estimated completion date of April 14, 2026. Fiscal 2022 and 2023 civil operation and maintenance funds; fiscal 2021, 2022 and 2023 civil construction funds; and fiscal 2023 non-federal Port of Freeport funds in the amount of $157,399,830 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston, Texas, is the contracting activity (W912HY-23-C-0005).
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District awarded a contract to Norfolk Dredging Company for $14 million to conduct periodic nourishment of the Brigantine dune and berm Coastal Storm Risk Management project. The project is a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the City of Brigantine.
The contract calls for dredging and placing approximately 850,000 cubic yards sand. Sand is dredged from a borrow site near Brigantine Inlet. Sand is then pumped through a series of pipes, placed on the beach, and graded into an engineered dune and berm template, which is designed to reduce damages from coastal storm events. In Brigantine, sand will be placed in the northern portion of the community from just north of 14th Street south to approximately 4th Street North.
Norfolk Dredging Company is expected to begin dredging and beachfill operations in July 2023 and work is expected to be completed in the fall. Dunes will be repaired in certain areas; however, most of the work includes widening the beach between the toe of the dune and the water line.
The project is cost-shared between the Federal government, the State of New Jersey, and the municipality.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announces the recent completion of dredging in five south shore inlets. The projects have all been dual-purposed, restoring safe depths for navigation, and beneficially using all dredged sands for coastal storm risk resiliency and environmental restoration. The five inlets, all dredged since last fall are East Rockaway Inlet, Jones Inlet, Fire Island Inlet, Moriches Inlet and Shinnecock Inlet. Taken together, the dredging activities removed over a million cubic yards of sand, all of which was placed on adjacent beaches or into the literal drift system.
Dredging activities during the fall and winter season did see some major challenges given many extreme weather days and difficult working conditions. Yet, a strong partnership effort among multiple federal, state and local agencies continuously developed innovative strategies to deliver the projects while ensuring safety, endangered species protection and compliance with regulatory standards.
Most challenging were the latest activities to complete Contract 2 of the Fire Island to Montauk Point Project (FIMP) which required dredging in Moriches Inlet and Shinnecock Inlet. The Corps, in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) and federal and state resource agencies, worked tirelessly to deliver the project. With completion of work under the $24,498,050 contract, which was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company LLC of Houston, TX, there is now bolstered resilience of Long Island's coastline.
The FIMP contract involved the hydraulic dredging of more than 320,000 cubic yards of sand from Shinnecock and Moriches Inlets, strategically placing it on updrift and downdrift beaches to reduce erosion and strengthen coastal resiliency. The FIMP Project reduces flood risk for Long Islanders along vulnerable areas of 83 miles of coastline in Suffolk County, from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point.
"The completion of this contract signifies a major milestone in the FIMP Project,” said COL Matthew Luzzatto, commander, USACE, New York District. “Our dedicated team, alongside federal, state, and local partners, has worked tirelessly to address this challenging project. Their efforts will ensure the safety and well-being of the residents of the surrounding communities as we continue to strengthen our coastlines and make them more resilient against future coastal storms. I would like to thank everyone for their dedication, commitment, and unwavering support in completing this project.”
"We appreciate the opportunity to coordinate with USACE to meet their responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act during this phase of the project," said Ian Drew, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's New York Field Office. "We look forward to continued cooperation to fulfill conservation measures and goals for mitigation, monitoring, and management as this important work continues."
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “We’re proud to be the state partner in this effort with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect Long Island’s coastal communities by reducing flood risks. Climate change is driving an uptick in both severe storms and flooding. To safeguard our communities and our natural resources, we must continue to work together on the federal, state, and local levels on projects like this to increase storm resiliency.”
The work at Fire Island, Moriches and Shinnecock are part of a comprehensive, multi-year $1.7 billion project, fully federally funded under Public Law 113-2, the Emergency Supplemental Bill passed in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. The project incorporates a range of features to reduce coastal flood risks, including structure elevations, building retrofits, a breach response plan, beach and dune fill, and adaptive management strategies.
The USACE New York District will continue to lead construction efforts in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), Suffolk County, the Towns of Babylon, Islip, Brookhaven, Southampton, and Easthampton, the National Park Service (NPS), Fire Island National Seashore (FIIS), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Collaboration with these stakeholders ensures that environmental sensitivity and endangered species protection remain paramount as the FIMP Project advances.
For more information, please visit the USACE New York District website at: https://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Projects-in-New-York/Fire-Island-to-Montauk-Point/
About the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, is responsible for the federal water resources development in New Jersey, New York, and parts of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The District is committed to delivering vital engineering solutions, in collaboration with partners, to secure the Nation, energize the economy, and reduce risk from disaster.