PN 13-03 Maintenance Dredging, Isle of Wight Channel and Sinepuxent Bay at Ocean City, Worcester County, Maryland

Published Sept. 24, 2013


Pursuant to Sections 313 and 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977 (33 USC 1323 and 1344) NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT pending availability of funds the Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposes to perform maintenance dredging of the Federal navigation channel in Isle of Wight Bay, and Sinepuxent Bay, Ocean City, Maryland.

The Isle of Wight Bay channel is authorized to a depth of 6 feet and width of 125 feet from the inlet to a point opposite North Eighth Street in Ocean City, then a width of 75 feet into the Isle of Wight Bay (See Map 1).  Material will be removed to the project depth of 6 feet plus two feet of allowable  overdepth.  Approximately  18,000 cubic yards of material consisting primarily of fine grain sand, are to be hydraulically  dredged.  The dredged material will be beneficially used to enhance the migratory bird habitats on Dog and Bitch Islands (See Map 2).

The Sinepuxent  Bay channel is authorized to a depth of 6 feet and a width of 150 to 100 feet to the head of Ocean City Harbor. There are two turning basins with the same depth as well.  The channel is at a width of 150 feet from the inlet to Green Point, and thence 100 feet wide in Chincoteague Bay (See Map 1).  Material will be removed to the project depth of 6 feet plus two feet of allowable overdepth.  Approximately  418,000 cubic yards of material, consisting primarily of fine grain to medium grain sand and silt are to be hydraulically  dredged.

Placement  of dredged material from Sinepuxent Bay will be divided into four sections (Map 3). Section 1 contains approximately 245,000 cubic yards of material which will be placed unconfined for beneficial use at Robin's Marsh (Map 4).  Dredged  material from Section 2, approximately  55,000 cubic yards, will be placed unconfined in the vicinity of a historic island near Green Point (Map 5).  The dredged material will be placed for beneficial use for migratory bird habitat.  Dredged material from Section 3 will be placed for beneficial use in the vicinity of a historic island near Gray's Point.  Approximately  57,000 cubic yards will be placed at this location, and will also be used for migratory bird habitat (Map 5).  This material will be confined with biodegradable materials.  Section 4, approximately 61,000 cubic yards of dredged material, will be placed at the inlet beach just north of the Ocean City inlet, for use by the Town of Ocean City (Map 6).

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 and that preparation  of an Environmental  Impact Statement is not warranted.   National Environmental  Protection Act (NEPA) documentation  addressing the environmental  issues of the dredging and placement  operation is being prepared.   A preliminary  review of this work and previous evaluations  of historical dredging and placement  operations for the Isle of Wight Bay and Sinepuxent Bay project indicate that the proposed  work will not adversely affect listed species or their critical habitat pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered  Species Act, as amended.   As the evaluation  of this work continues, additional information may become available which could change this preliminary  determination.   The proposed maintenance dredging complies with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Maryland Coastal Zone Management  Program.  The proposed project also complies with the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended, and as such, will not have any adverse affect on essential fish habitat for federally managed species.


Maintenance  of the project is being coordinated 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; State of Maryland, Department of the Environment,  Department of Natural Resources,  and Maryland Historical Trust; and Worcester County.

The decision whether to accomplish  the work proposed in the 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 the reasonably foreseeable  detriments.  All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered;  among those are conservation, aesthetics, fish and wildlife values, general environmental  concerns, economics,  historic and cultural values, navigation, energy needs, economics,  recreation, safety, water quality, food production,  and in general, the needs and welfare of the people.

Designation  of the proposed  placement sites 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 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 environmental documentation  for this project is anticipated to be an Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact or a Record of Environmental  Consideration,  which will be available upon request.

It is requested that you communicate the foregoing information concerning  proposed work to any persons known by you to be interested and whom not being known to this office, do not receive a copy of this notice.

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 Mrs. Danielle Szimanski at (410) 962-6064  or