The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing maintenance dredging of portions of the Milford Harbor Federal Navigation Project in Milford. The proposed work involves removing about 14,000 cubic yards of sandy material from portions of the 10-foot deep entrance channel in Milford Harbor.

“Natural shoaling processes and storm events have reduced available depths in the 10-foot-deep entrance channel in Milford Harbor to as shallow as –1 foot mean lower low water,” said Project Manager Jack Karalius, of the Corps’ New England District, Programs and Project Management Division in Concord, Mass. “Given these conditions and current vessel drafts, shoaling within the project is limiting safe navigation.”

Without dredging, channel conditions will continue to deteriorate, which will deter and/or interfere with the use of the river and harbor by recreational and commercial vessels, according to an Army Corps press release. “Contingent upon receiving the necessary approvals, maintenance dredging will be completed by the government-owned special purpose dredge, the Currituck, or a similar dredge.”

The dredged material will be placed in the nearshore environment, in an area approximately 1,500 feet long by 1,000 feet wide, off of Bayview Beach in Milford, approximately one mile to the east.

“The Corps favors using the nearshore placement areas option because it is environmentally sound, cost effective and keeps the clean sediments in the littoral system,” the press release states.

“Although the placement area is new, no evidence of submerged historic properties (i.e. shipwrecks) was discernible in the survey data,” according to project details. “Therefore, maintenance dredging and placement of dredged material off of Bayview Beach are not anticipated to affect any cultural or archaeological features or resources.”

Project details suggest there may be temporary disturbance to fish habitat.

“It has been determined that dredging may have a temporary adverse effect on Essential Fish Habitat (EFH),” according to project details. “The Army Corps of Engineers has assessed the effects dredging is likely to have on EFH and has determined that they will be short-term and localized and that there will be no significant impacts on the designated fisheries resources. The Corps is consulting with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that all impacts will be minimized.”

The public notice with more details is online at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/PublicNotices.aspx.

Comments are invited from all interested parties and should be directed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751, ATTN: Jack Karalius, by Oct. 24.