The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is seeking public comments on a proposal to expand the nearshore dredge material placement site that is currently being used for the maintenance of navigation channel near Port Orford.
The Corps’ proposal would double the size of the placement area, expanding the southern boundary of the existing 800-by-800 feet area by another 800 feet.
According to USACE, this expansion is important for the continued maintenance of the Port Orford channel because it would allow placement of material over a larger area, reducing navigation risks from mounding.
In order to maintain the channel at its authorized depth, the Corps uses dredge vessels to strategically excavate the channel bed, gathering up bottom sediments from shoals and placing them at the nearshore placement area a couple of hundred feet from the edge of the breakwater.
The Corps also added that expansion of the placement area may also benefit aquatic resources by reducing the amount of sediment placed over bottom-dwelling organisms that inhabit the sediment surface and sub-surface of the ocean bottom. This expansion would not increase the amount of annual dredging.
USACE has prepared a draft environmental assessment for this proposal in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. The assessment includes a brief discussion of the need for the expansion of the nearshore placement site, as well as environmental considerations resulting from the expansion.
The draft document for the proposal is available for public review and comment at the associated public notice page on the Portland District website.