The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District, has completed a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Channel Maintenance and Beneficial Use of Dredged Material Projects, New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway Ocean and Cape May Counties, New Jersey.
The EA evaluates existing environmental, cultural, and socio-economic conditions at the proposed project sites (Mordecai Island, Avalon and Stone Harbor), and the effects of the projects on existing resources in the immediate and surrounding areas.
The projects are being developed with the assistance of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW) and the Nature Conservancy. The marsh restoration sites for Avalon and Stone Harbor are on land owned by the NJDFW.
The New Jersey Intracoastal Waterway (NJIWW) provides a safe, reliable, and operational navigation channel for the East Coast’s largest and fifth most valuable commercial fishing fleet in the U.S. (Cape May/Wildwood) and nine U.S. Coast Guard Stations including the Cape May training base. Funding for maintenance of the NJIWW has been limited in recent years.
However, as a result of Hurricane Sandy impacts, funding to dredge critical shoals in the NJIWW was made available under P L. 113-2: Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (FY 2013) – Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Emergency Supplemental. A lease-of-plant maintenance dredging contract was awarded to Barnegat Bay Dredging Company to address impacted areas in the waterway and work to restore the channel in sections identified as having critical shoals.
Critical shoals have been identified in the vicinity of Mordecai Island, located in Ocean County, NJ, and Avalon and Stone Harbor in Cape May County, NJ.
Beneficial use of the NJIWW material to prevent further loss of eroding habitats is an optimum regional sediment management solution for the issues in the NJIWW.
Press Release, July 22, 2014