OPN-18-03 Maintenance Dredging, Upper Wicomico River, Somerset County, Maryland

Published July 24, 2018


            Operations Division                                                                                



SUBJECT:  Maintenance Dredging, Upper Wicomico River, Somerset County, Maryland







NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District (Corps), is planning to perform maintenance dredging for the Federal navigation channel in the Wicomico River, Wicomico County, Maryland during the calendar years of 2018 and 2019.  Please be advised that implementation of this maintenance dredging is dependent on available funds.  The Corps’ notification and review procedures for dredging in Federal navigation channels is found under Sections 313 and 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977 (33 USC 1323 and 1344).


     The proposed work consists of dredging the upper Wicomico River channels to its authorized depth of 14 feet (MLLW), plus two feet of allowable overdepth, and a width of 150 feet.  However, due to the inaccuracies of dredging some material may be removed beyond the allowable overdepth.  The Corps plans to hydraulically dredge approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material consisting of mud, sand, silt, and shell and combinations thereof from the upper reach of the Federal channel between Upper Ferry and Salisbury (Map 1).  The dredged material will be placed at an existing dike upland site known as Sharps Point (Map 2).  The Sharps Point placement site was most recently used by the Baltimore District for dredged material placement during 2015 and is owned and operated by Wicomico County.  


     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.  Therefore, preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not warranted.  National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation addressing the environmental issues of the placement site construction is being prepared.  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.  Since the placement site has been previously used, the NEPA documentation for this project is anticipated to be a Categorical Exclusion and a Record of Environmental Consideration, which will be available upon request.


     The Corps has previously coordinated 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 Natural Resources, and Maryland Historical Trust; and Wicomico County, Maryland. The Corps will also coordinate with Maryland Department of the Environment for a water quality certification.


     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 benefits 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, environmental concerns, economics, historic values, navigation, energy needs, recreation, 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 navigation, including economic impact, 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, 2 Hopkins Plaza, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, 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. 


     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. 


If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Danielle Szimanski at (410) 962-6064 or Danielle.m.szimanski@usace.army.mil.







                                                                        Harvey L. Johnson, P.E.

                  Chief, Operations Division