NN17-02 (Dredging & Construction, Sheep Pen Gut Channel) - Somerset Co.

Published May 4, 2017


DOD Seal                                                            Department of the Army

                                                           Baltimore District, Corps of Engineers

                                                           10 S. Howard street

                                                            Baltimore, MD 21201-1715                                                                                          CENAB-OP                                                                                                                                   04 May 2017



SUBJECT: Dredging & Construction, Sheep Pen Gut Channel, Somerset County, Maryland





NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (Corps), is planning to perform dredging and realignment of the Sheep Pen Gut Federal navigation channel on the west side of Smith Island near Rhodes Point, Somerset County, Maryland.  Please be advised that implementation of this project is dependent on available funds.  The Corps’ notification and review procedures for dredging in Federal navigation channels is found under Section 313 and 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977 (33 U.S.C. §1323 and 1344).  


The proposed work consists of dredging the existing Federal channel at the mouth of Sheep Pen Gut (Map 1), and realigning the channel to extend northwestward into the Chesapeake Bay (Map 2).  The channel is authorized to a depth of 6 feet.  The channel will be 50 feet wide with the last 150 feet into the Bay being 100 feet wide.  Material will be removed to the depth of 6 feet mean lower low water (MLLW), plus one foot of allowable overdepth.  Due to the inaccuracies in dredging, some material may be removed beyond the overdepth. 


In addition to dredging the Federal channel, the project also includes construction of two jetties to prevent shoaling in the Sheep Pen Gut channel.  The north and south jetties will be approximately 1,150 feet and 650 feet long, respectively.  To prevent shoreline erosion, an 850 foot long sill will be constructed along the shoreline south of the mouth of Sheep Pen Gut.  Approximately 24,000 CY of dredged material consisting primarily of sand and silt will be placed behind the sill to restore wetlands, increasing resilience, and supporting Executive Order 13653 (Preparing the U.S. for the Impacts of Climate Change).  Some material will also be used to reinforce the north jetty tie-in with the land.  The dredged material will be planted with native vegetation.  This placement plan incorporates recommendations provided by the resource agencies following the Public Notice for the project released in April 2015.


A review of data generated for preparation of the Environmental Assessment, including a preliminary 404(b)(1) evaluation, indicates that no significant environmental impacts are expected.  The preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not warranted.  National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation addressing the environmental








SUBJECT: Dredging & Construction, Sheep Pen Gut Channel, Somerset County, Maryland



issues of the placement site construction is being prepared for public comment.  The proposed placement site construction complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program.  The project will comply with the Endangered Species Act, and provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended, and will not have any adverse effect on endangered species or essential fish habitat for federally managed species.


The Corps will coordinate the project with the following federal, state and local agencies:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service; Maryland Department of the Environment; Maryland Department of Natural Resources; and Maryland Historical Trust; and Somerset County, Maryland.


The decision whether to accomplish the work proposed in this public notice will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the proposed work on the public interest.  The decision will reflect the national concern for the protection and utilization of important resources.  The benefit, which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal, must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments.  All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered; for example conservation, aesthetics, fish and wildlife values, general environmental concerns, economics, historic values, navigation, energy needs, recreation, resiliency, safety, water quality, food production, and public welfare.  The work will not be accomplished unless it is found to be in the public’s interest.


Designation of the proposed placement site for dredged material associated with this Federal project shall be made through the application of guidelines promulgated by the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army.  If these guidelines alone prohibit the designation of the proposed placement site, any potential impairment to the maintenance of navigation, including any economic impact on navigation and anchorage, which would result from the failure to use the placement site, will also be considered.


Any person who has an interest that may be affected by the placement of this dredged material may request a public hearing.  The request must be submitted in writing to the District Engineer, US Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, 10 S. Howard Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21203-1715, within 30 days of the date of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest that may be affected and the manner in which the interest may be affected by this activity.  The Corps will complete environmental documentation for this project, which will be available upon request. 









SUBJECT:  Dredging & Construction, Sheep Pen Gut Channel, Somerset County, Maryland



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, will apply for Water Quality Certification from the State of Maryland, which is required by Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.  Any comments relating to water quality concerns should also be forwarded to the Maryland Department of the Environment, Standards and Certification, Montgomery Park Business Center, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Suite 430, Baltimore, Maryland 21230 within 30 days of the date of this notice. 


Since we are not aware of all persons interested in the project, we request that you provide this information to anyone whom has interest.  If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Danielle Szimanski at (410) 962-6064 or Danielle.m.Szimanski@usace.army.mil.






Chief, Operations Division