Pursuant to Sections 313 and 404 of the Clean Water Act of 1977 (33 USC 1323 and 1344), NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT PENDING THE AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS, the Baltimore District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, proposes to perform maintenance dredging of the Baltimore Harbor & Channels Federal navigation project during calendar years 2015 and 2016.
The plans and location of the proposed work are shown on the enclosed map. The proposed work consists of maintenance dredging the following channels to their respective authorized dimensions: Fort McHenry Channel to a depth of 51 feet and width of 700; Seagirt Channel West to a depth of 42 feet and width of 500; Brewerton Eastern Extension to a depth of 35’ and width of 700; Craighill Channel and Craighill Entrance to a depth of 51 feet and width of 700. The dredging includes one foot of advanced maintenance dredging in the Fort McHenry Channel, Craighill Entrance, and Craighill Channel; and three feet of allowable overdepth in Seagirt and two feet of allowable overdepth dredging in all remaining channels. Due to the imprecise nature of dredging operations, the dredging contractor may remove excess material beyond the limits described above in some areas and may not remove all material in other areas.
Approximately 2,500,000 cubic yards of material consisting primarily of mud, silt, sand, shell, and mixtures thereof would be dredged by clamshell and scow. The State of Maryland will provide the 1,140-acre Paul S. Sarbanes Ecosystem Restoration Project at Poplar Island located on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay, northwest of Tilghman Island, Talbot County, Maryland to contain an estimated 2,000,000 cubic yards removed from Brewerton Eastern Extension, Craighill Entrance, and Craighill Channel. The State of Maryland will provide the 100‑acre Cox Creek Dredged Material Containment Facility (DMCF), located in Anne Arundel County, for the deposition of approximately 400,000 cubic yards of material from the proposed dredging of the Fort McHenry Channel and Seagirt Channel West. The State of Maryland will also provide a Confined Aquatic Disposal Cell located adjacent to the Masonville DMCF for the deposition of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material from the Fort McHenry Channel and Seagirt Channel West. In order to maximize drying and consolidation of the material at the placement sites, dredging will be scheduled to take place between October 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. The use of the Confined Aquatic Disposal Cell is contingent upon the acquisition of necessary permits by the State of Maryland as well as the availability of the cell and its capacity at contract award.
The sediment to be dredged from the above channels has been tested in accordance with criteria promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency as published in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 230, to ensure the suitability of the Chesapeake Bay channels and Harbor Channels for placement at their designated sites.
The proposed methods of dredging and placement of material are addressed in and consistent with the Final Environmental Impact Statement and accompanying Supplemental Information ‑ Operation & Maintenance of Baltimore Harbor & Associated Channels, Maryland & Virginia filed with the Council on Environmental Quality on January 10, 1975 and January 9, 1976, respectively; the Final Environmental Impact Statement ‑ Proposed Plan for Completing the Navigation Improvements, Authorized by the 1958 River and Harbor Act for the Baltimore Harbor and Channels, Maryland and Virginia, filed with the Environmental Protection Agency on November 21, 1979; the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Supplemental Information Report for Baltimore Harbor and Channels, Maryland and Virginia dated August 1981 and January 1982, respectively; the Supplement to the General Design Memorandum and Supplemental Information Report for the Baltimore Harbor and Channels Maryland and Virginia 42‑Foot Project, filed with the Office of Federal Activities on June 23, 1986; the Poplar Island, Maryland Environmental Restoration Project Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement, February 1996; the Baltimore Harbor & Channels, Maryland & Virginia, 42-Foot Project, Brewerton Channel Eastern Extension, Maryland Limited Reevaluation Report and Environmental Assessment, August 1997; the Final Proposed New Work Dredging Baltimore Harbor and Channels, Maryland and Virginia – Straightening of the Tolchester Channel S-Turn, Maryland, Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, March 2001, and the Final Baltimore Harbor & Channels Dredged Material Management Plan and Tiered Environmental Impact Statement, December 2005.
A preliminary review of this work and previous evaluations of historical dredging and placement operations for the Baltimore Harbor 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.
The proposed maintenance dredging will comply with and will be conducted in a manner consistent with the approved Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program. Any comments regarding the consistency determination should be sent to the Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230-1708, within 30 days of the date of this notice. The proposed work is being coordinated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Marine Fisheries Service; and the Maryland Departments of the Environment, Natural Resources, Transportation, Maryland Port Administration, Housing and Community Development, and Business and Economic Development.
Designation of the proposed placement sites for the 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 sites, any potential impairment to the maintenance of navigation including any economic impact on navigation and anchorage which would result from the failure to use these placement sites will also be considered.
Previous cultural resources reconnaissance surveys and intensive marine surveys have indicated that there are no historically significant artifacts in the proposed work areas. A review of the latest published version of the National Register of Historic Places indicates that there are no registered properties or properties listed as eligible for inclusion therein located at the proposed work sites. Currently unknown archaeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical data may be lost or destroyed by the proposed work.
The decision whether to accomplish the work proposed in this public notice will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact, including cumulative impacts, 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 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; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetics, energy needs, general environmental concerns, fish and wildlife values, wetlands, historic and cultural values, navigation, shoreline erosion and accretion, water quality, flood hazards, flood plain values, land use, recreation, safety, food production, and in general, the needs and the welfare of the people. The work will not be accomplished unless it is found to be in the public interest.
Any person who has an interest which 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, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, P.O. Box 1715, Baltimore, Maryland 21203‑1715 within 30 days of the date of this notice and must clearly set forth the interest which may be affected and the manner in which the interest may be affected by this activity. Please contact Ms. Tiffany Burroughs at (410) 962‑5677 if there are any questions regarding the proposed work.
Any written comments or questions regarding water quality considerations involved with this project should be directed to the Maryland Department of the Environment, Wetlands and Waterways Program, 1800 Washington Blvd., Suite 430, Baltimore, MD 21230-1708 within 30 days of the date of this notice.