Tag Archives: Army Corps of Engineers

Meet the salmon scientist at the center of the Pebble fight

Beneath the steady static of rain on a tin roof, University of Washington aquatic ecologist Daniel Schindler made some soup. On a clear day, he’d be wading through thousands of hump-backed, hooked-jawed sockeye that turn the pristine waters of southwestern Alaska red every year. Schindler has put himself in the middle of the two-decade fight over the Pebble mine, a proposal to build one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines roughly 100 miles east of Lake Nerka. >click to read<  20:01

Mississippi to sue Army Corps of Engineers over extended opening of spillway

Mississippi’s attorney general said Thursday that he will sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for environmental and economic damage the state experienced after the Corps opened a spillway for two extended periods this year to protect New Orleans from flooding.,, Hood said he does not want New Orleans to flood but the Corps should better assess potential damage to Mississippi when deciding whether to open the Bonnet Carre spillway. He said if the federal government decides to open the spillway often, “they’ll have to pay for it because it’s just about put our seafood industry out of business.” >click to read< 17:11

Hampton-Seabrook Harbor dredging begins – here’s why it’s vital

Work has begun on the dredging of the Hampton-Seabrook Harbor, a project local and state officials have said was urgently needed to protect the Seacoast’s fishing and seaside economy.,,, Keith Johnson of H&L Contracting, whose company is doing the work, said those who use the harbor will still be able to use it while the work is ongoing. Army Corps of Engineers project manager Coral Siligato said the work is scheduled to take place through March 15. The inner harbor work is slated to be completed by Feb. 1. >click to read<  07:14

Pacific Northwest Tribes Want Columbia River Dams Razed

Two Pacific Northwest tribes on Monday demanded the removal of three major hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River to save migrating salmon and starving orcas and restore fishing sites that were guaranteed to the tribes in a treaty more than 150 years ago.,, Proposals to merely curtail operations, let alone remove the structures, are controversial, and the prospects of the Columbia dams being demolished any time soon appear nonexistent. But tribal leaders said at a news conference along the Columbia River that the Treaty of 1855, in which 14 tribes and bands ceded 11.5 million acres to the United States, was based on the inaccurate belief that the United States had a right to take the land. >click to read< 10:18

Floodwaters Diverted from New Orleans Killed Off Marine Life

The federal government’s effort to avoid a flood disaster in New Orleans had catastrophic consequences of its own, causing massive fish kills and habitat destruction along the Gulf Coast, according to the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The governors say the Army Corps of Engineers’ diversion of trillions of gallons of water from the swollen Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico killed fish, shrimp, oysters and crab and forced the extended closure of beaches. Dolphins have suffered high death and infection rates, researchers say. >click to read< 15:44

EPA officials visit Dillingham to gather opinions on Pebble Mine

Representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency arrived in Dillingham Thursday morning, meeting with fishers and community leaders to gather opinions on the proposed development of Pebble Mine. “It’s important to hear people’s views on all sides of the issue,” said Matt Leopold, the EPA’s general counsel. “And here in Dillingham I can tell right away that people are opposed to the project.” >click to read<11:33

Toxic lobsters? – Long Island Sound dumping dispute nears tipping point

Connecticut says the new underwater dump site is needed to maintain the state’s economic development effort – including its lucrative submarine construction business at Electric Boat’s shipyard,,, New York says the site will be harmful to its ecology and tourism, and Connecticut could, and should, dump the material it dredges up somewhere else.,,, Toxic lobsters? Lobstering is still done in Long Island Sound, though there are far fewer lobsters than in the past. >click to read<10:08

‘Carp cowboys’ round up invasive Asian carp as Illinois, federal officials debate costly measures to protect Lake Michigan

In Illinois, current strategies have successfully reduced the leading edge of the Asian carp population by 93 percent since 2012, according to sonar scans. By removing more than 1 million pounds of carp annually in the past several years, the state has contained the adult population to the Dresden Island Pool, 47 miles away from Lake Michigan, near Minooka, Ill. But computer modeling suggests it’s not enough. To repel Asian carp, about four times that amount needs to be removed from downstream.,, On Tuesday, near the banks of Sheehan Island where Asian carp like to take refuge, state-contracted fisherman Shawn Price gunned the engine of his boat while his father hit a wooden stick on the side. Minutes later, Shawn Price began pulling in nets chock-full of Asian carp. >click to read<09:01

Army Corps dredging Moriches Inlet to remove heavy sand buildup

Four storms last winter created a buildup of 300,000 cubic yards of sand, clogging the inlet, which feeds Moriches Bay and sits between Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue Beach County Park in Brookhaven and Southampton towns. The inlet provides access to the Atlantic Ocean and is a major economic driver for marine-related businesses in the region. “Failure to dredge these vital waterways would not only cause economic hardship and create a public safety crisis, but will bring about significant environmental issues,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said at a news conference Friday at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in East Moriches. >click to read<10:28

NH delegation requests Hampton Harbor emergency dredging while Depoe Bay Mayor ready to do jail time for dredging

The congressional delegation from New Hampshire is requesting that emergency dredging of Hampton Harbor be included in the Army Corps of Engineers’ work plan for the 2019 fiscal year. The plan must be submitted to Congress no later than Nov. 20. Sand shoals in the harbor are causing serious issues for those who navigate the waters for work and recreation. The channel is currently only 20 to 30 feet wide in some places and at least two boats have gotten stuck on the shoals this season. >click to read< Declaring her intent to save the town’s harbor from an onslaught of muddy silt, Mayor Barbara Leff said she would do anything — including jail time — to dig the harbor out of trouble following a futile plea for help to federal officials. “We’ve done all the political things we can to get the harbor dredged,”, >click to read<10:49

State won’t support Pebble Mine, unless it can prove ‘zero impact’

Gov. Bill Walker wants to press pause on the controversial Pebble Mine project in Southwest, Alaska. Pebble is seeking federal permits on a smaller mine proposal, about half the size of the one it began pursuing more than a decade ago. But in a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers on Friday, Walker urged suspension of a critical piece of that process — the environmental impact statement — calling for proof of a “feasible and realistic” project first. “This is something that we’ve looked at very carefully, and we feel like even the project proponents are unsure of the size of this project,” said Andy Mack, Commissioner of the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources.,, >click to read<10:45

Local leaders encouraged by water wars arguments in U.S. Supreme Court hearing

Florida lawyers fared well in last week’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the “water wars” between the state and Georgia, officials who sat through the hearing said. Rep. Neal Dunn, who was among them, said he felt Florida has a real shot of winning the case.,, “Georgia came off some pretty harsh questioning – a lot of harsh interrogatories, and a lot of apparent disbelief on the part of the justices in what they were hearing from Georgia.”,,, Florida says a steady supply of water is the last chance for Apalachicola Bay’s struggling oyster industry and endangered species. >click here to read< 17:45

$300 million Asian Carp control plan needs study, says Lt. Gov.

Another proposed step to prevent Asian carp in the Illinois River from invading the Great Lakes needs a careful look, Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti said Monday morning aboard the twin-screw tugboat “Windy City” while it plied the Illinois River at Ottawa. In July, the Army Corps of Engineers released a new carp control system that would be installed at the Brandon Roads Lock and Dam on the Des Plaines River in Joliet. Of the $300 million cost of the installation the state is being asked to put up $90 million, she said,  and then pay $10 million annually in maintenance expenses,, “The actual (Asian carp) population has decreased 68 percent because of commercial fishing and other nonstructural solutions that are working,” said Del Wilkins. click here to read the story 15:43

Maryland slashes oyster restoration acreage goal in Eastern Shore sanctuary

Maryland has decided to reduce the large-scale oyster restoration project goal in the Little Choptank River after boaters ran aground at another sanctuary and some of the man-made reefs there had to be rebuilt. The sanctuaries are among five planned to be built as part of a federal-state agreement to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.,, Skeptical of oyster restoration from the start, watermen have complained of trotlines getting stuck in new stone river bottoms and boats being damaged by oyster reef “high spots” in Harris Creek. A trotline is a long, heavy fishing line with short, baited lines suspended from it. They are often used to catch blue crabs in Maryland. click here to read the story 09:46

Sea lions hinder salmon conservation

California and Steller sea lions took a bigger bite out of last year’s salmon run than in any previous year, according to a new federal report. 2015 saw a bigger run, with more than 239,000 chinook and steelhead migrating past Bonneville Dam. That year, the total number of salmon that sea lions ate was he largest ever recorded. The Army Corps of Engineers recorded more than 260 sea lions eating more than 10,000 fish from January to June 2015. The 2016 salmon run was far smaller, but the sea lions’ appetite for salmon didn’t shrink much. They still ate more than 9,500 fish, nearly 6 percent of the run. That’s the largest share of the run eaten by the large marine mammals since Army Corps scientists started watching 15 years ago. Read the rest here 12:43

Apalachicola Advocates, Fishermen Continue Fight For Water

At the end of a river system that feeds booming Atlanta, and farms throughout Georgia and Alabama, sits Apalachicola Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers decides how much water flows here, where the river meets the Gulf. For years, Florida has argued it’s not getting its fair share, and the Bay and surrounding Franklin County are struggling because of it. T.J. Ward is a third generation fisherman who works at his family’s business in downtown Apalach. Over the past ten years, he’s seen the lack of freshwater take its toll, in the form of oyster predators. “One of those are, they call them snails, but we call them oyster drills, the locals do. And they eat oysters. And they’re even cannibalistic, so when they run out of oysters they’ll eat themselves. I mean they’re devastating. That’s one thing that’s killed the end of the bay that our oyster company’s on,” Ward said. Audio report, continue reading the story here 10:15

The Manasquan Ridge – Essential Fish Habitat or Common Borrow, and at what cost?

Beach replenishment is costly and exacts a heavy toll on the environment, depleting underwater ridges that are home to a broad variety of sea life. “This project is another important component of the Christie administration’s plan to bring engineered beaches and dunes to the entire coast,” state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said September 2, as he announced work would start soon on a new project, pumping another 3.8 million cubic yards of sand from the sea floor onto eight miles of beach from Atlantic City to Longport. Fishermen question the cost to the environment from demands for more and more sand on the beaches. A seafloor survey of sand ridges off Manasquan commissioned in June by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management raised alarms that the Corps of Engineers could dredge more sand from undersea hills that are essential fish habitat. Collectively known as the Manasquan Ridge, the hills attract seasonal concentrations of fish, and could be a future “borrow area,” where sand is extracted to pump onto nearby beaches. “They are already planning to use borrow areas closer to the beach,” said captain James Lovgren of the Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant Beach, who, with other fishermen, met with DEP officials in late July regarding their concerns about sand mining. Read the story here 09:16

Judge Lets East Sand Island Cormorant Cull Continue

Cormorants3_h7b5woA federal judge will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to keep shooting native cormorants by the thousands, to reduce predation on young salmon, despite objections from environmentalists who say the slaughter doesn’t address the real cause of dwindling salmon populations: hydroelectric dams. The Audubon Society of Portland led an April 2015 lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, claiming that the plan scapegoated a natural predator and had little effect on survival rates of young salmon. Chief among the Audubon Society’s arguments is that there are so many factors that determine whether a salmon will return from sea to spawn in its native waters that the government’s focus on cormorant predation was not only fruitless, but hurt a native bird protected by the Migratory Species Act.   The government’s plan focused on East Sand Island, home to the largest breeding population of double-crested cormorants in North America. The 60-acre island is nestled in the fertile brackish waters where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. Read the rest here 14:11

N.J. fishermen fear loss of huge underwater sand hill, the Manasquan Ridge

636046139195754361-ridgeThe appearance of the 123-foot offshore supply vessel Scarlett Isabella on the Manasquan Ridge is a bad omen to Capt. Jim Lovgren, a Point Pleasant Beach commercial fishermen. The Scarlett was in the hire of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is looking for potential sand on the outer continental shelf that could be pumped up onto the Jersey beach. Tampering with these sand beds, which are long-established fishing areas, could reshape the fishing communities at the Shore, fishermen say. The ridge, which starts to rise off the ocean floor 5 ½ miles southeast of Manasquan Inlet, is one of those potential resources of sand. “Last year word was that Manasquan Ridge was a last resort for beach replenishment use. The fact that they are paying a survey vessel to crisscross it clearly says something different,” said Lovgren, who sits on the Executive Board of the Garden State Seafood Association. Fishermen have been weary of a conflict with the Army Corps of Engineers over the ridge, and others nearby, which they depend on to hold fish. Read the story here 17:48

Another bump in “Ocean City Inlet” road – Commercial fishing operators say inlet’s all but closed to them as shoaling worsens

t1200-IMG_2261The January nor’easter, which wreaked havoc along the coast, also caused an increase in sediment into the already choking Ocean City Inlet, especially in the areas near buoys 10, 11 and 12. Two weeks ago the Capt. Frank ran aground and was stuck for six and a half hours, according to fisherman Joe Letts, and the Betty C, one of Letts’ clamming vessels, also ran aground but was able to free herself after an hour and a half. “I’m spending too much on the bottoms of my boats,” Letts said. “I don’t see why they can’t dig the S.O.B. to 20 feet and leave it alone. I’m over it. I’m in New Jersey now and am making money. Everybody’s leaving. Some of the biggest names in fishing are there and they’re tucking tail and running.” Read the rest here 09:15

Fishermen pack first meeting on Mississippi DMR emergency oyster program

Dozens of oyster fishermen packed the room at the Bolton Building in Biloxi on Wednesday morning for the first of two meetings on the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’ emergency oyster recovery program. DMR officials made the announcement about the program Monday, just one day after the Army Corps of Engineers opened the  in Louisiana. The program will put Mississippi oyster fishermen to work relocating live oysters from the west side of the Mississippi Sound to the east side and Biloxi Back Bay. Read the article here 13:45

Ocean City Inlet threatened by continual influx of sand, sediment

Though it’s been getting progressively worse — especially after Hurricane Sandy — local officials, first gathered by Del. Mary Beth Carozza at a meeting at the Marlin Club this past spring, are working towards a solution for shoaling at the Ocean City Inlet. The Inlet serves both commercial and recreational boating interests, but it was the departure of a commercial fishing fleet helmed by Joe Letts from Ocean City waters in favor of New Jersey earlier this year, due to ease of access, that led to the issue’s prominence. Read the article here 09:29

OC harbor dredging may see additional study

What is causing the commercial fishing harbor in West Ocean City to fill up with sand? If things go Rep. Mary Beth Carozza’s (R-38C-Wicomico-Worcester) way, there may be an answer by next year. Earlier this year, the mounting issue of the harbor’s depth came to a head and Carozza organized a stakeholder meeting to address it. Parts of the Inlet and harbor were filling up with sand every few months, watermen said, and wasn’t keeping pace. Read the rest here 09:50

Army Corps withdraws Penobscot Bay dredging application – plan to dispose of contaminated spoils drew local ire

SearsportDredging091The Army Corps of Engineers withdrew on Tuesday its state permitting application for a Penobscot Bay dredging project opposed by lobstermen, tourism business owners and environmentalists. The project aims to improve and upgrade Searsport, Maine’s second-busiest port, by expanding its turning basin and deepening the approach channel from 35 to 40 feet. But the Corps’ plan for disposing of the nearly 1 million cubic yards of dredged material raised alarm bells up and down Penobscot Bay over concerns it would trigger widespread mercury contamination. Read the rest here 10:38

Ocean City Inlet Dredging Set For This Month, But Long-Term Commitment Still Being Sought

While the Army Corps of Engineers will return to the resort area later this month for a short-term dredging project to temporarily fix the chronic shoaling problem in the Ocean City Inlet and commercial harbor, state and local officials continue to push for a long term solution. However, it has come to light in recent months the federally authorized 10-foot depth in the Inlet is not sufficient to sustain the multi-million dollar commercial and recreational fishing industries. “The Army Corps bases its dredging schedule on a cost-benefit ratio looking at commercial boats only,” she said. “There aren’t many left here, and when they leave, they conversely impact that cost-benefit ratio.” Read the rest here20:39

Pledge to dredge will likely keep Oregon Inlet open in North Carolina

Dare County commissioners agreed Thursday to dedicate $1 million to pay the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the inlet. The move all but assures for the first time that the inlet remains open, said Dare County Commissioner Beverly Boswell. “We’ll have a dredge here when it’s needed,” she said after the vote. Oregon Inlet proponent and boat captain Harry Schiffman and others have pleaded with the county to pay for dredging for more than 20 years. Read the rest here 08:46

Censored Maine Fishermen Seek Assurances that Searsport Dredging Won’t Harm Bay

“My name is David Black and I’m from Belfast and I fish in this area out here. Wayne fishes beside me. We are the face of the destruction that this might cause out here.” Black says he worries the material will harm the bay’s fisheries. And he says state and federal regulators have not been listening to fishermen’s concerns.  “I went to a hearing on the dredging for the Department of Marine Resources in Searsport about three weeks ago,” he says, “and I wanted to make comments about the disposal site out here, and I was told that my comments were not appropriate – I could not make comments on this disposal site.” Read the rest here 08:31

No consideration given to lobstermen by Army Corps of Engineers Royal River dredging project

The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the project, which is set to begin on October 14th, and last until April. Sediment will be removed from the mouth of the Royal River and will be hauled along a 15 mile stretch to a disposal site in Portland. All fishing gear along the hauling route has to be removed by next week, and some fishermen said they did not hear about the plans until Monday morning. Video, Read the rest here 12:55

Dredge opponents fear Penobscot River pollution

For the opponents of the Searsport dredge project, mercury contamination is the big worry. Those concerns deepened in February when the Maine Department of Marine Resources closed seven square miles to lobster and crab fishing after unsafe levels of  Read more here 08:25

“This meeting is a sham and a shame,” ‘You are going to bury [the lobster industry]’: Skeptical crowd rips Searsport dredging project

BDNBELFAST, Maine — The conference room at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast was standing-room only on Tuesday afternoon as more than 200 people came to a public information meeting about a controversial Searsport Harbor dredging project. Read more here  21:23