Photos of the Long Island Sound

Research & Monitoring

Status & Trends

LISS Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators

Harbor and Bay Navigability

Maintain all federal navigation channels in harbors and bays and manage dredged material in a cost effective and environmentally sound manner, consistent with a bi-state Dredged Material Management Plan, by 2035.

* Click labels in legend to hide data and adjust scale
Progress

The progress bar refers to the first half of the target to maintain federal navigation channels. Data is not yet available for the second half of the target – managing dredged material in a cost effective and environmentally sound manner.

Federal Navigation Channels with Sufficient Depth
Sufficient DepthInsufficient DepthNot surveyed
2015181717
2017181717
2035 goal52 - -

Status and Trends

Currently, in Long Island Sound waters, there are 35 federal navigation channels for which we have data and status updates from the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  As of 2017 18 surveyed channels are of sufficient depth for users to safely travel,17 channels are insufficient for users, and 17 which have not been recently surveyed. The goal is to have all 52 federal navigation channels surveyed and maintained as ‘sufficient for use’ status by 2035.

The survey data provided by the USACE is used by the Corps to prioritize future channel dredging needs. The USACE data disclaimer makes no warranties of usability or suitability for any particular purpose of the information and the data only indicates the general existing conditions of the channels.

Challenges

Maintenance of navigational channels is essential to sustain both recreational and commercial activities in harbors and embayments along the Connecticut and New York shorelines.

Federal Navigation Channels are coastal channels and waterways that are maintained and surveyed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). These channels are necessary transportation systems that serve economic and national security interests.

Due to natural processes of land erosion along the waterways in the Long Island Sound watershed and sediment transport of oceanic littoral processes, the possibility of silting and filling in ( also called shoaling) of channels is always present.  As a result, a multi-agency approach is needed to monitor and maintain the local and regional navigability of the these navigation channels.

The USACE New England District Navigation page states: “Once the need for dredging is established through evaluation of existing navigation conditions and the requirements of users, several critical steps follow before dredging occurs: Sampling and testing of the shoal material, search and identification of a suitable disposal site for the material, coordination with State and Federal Resource Agencies, and coordination with the public. Once we develop a site specific dredging and disposal plan and complete coordination, the project funding is requested from Congress. When the work is eventually funded, we develop plans and specification and advertise the work. The vast majority of our work is done by private contractor under Corps supervision.”

How is This Target Measured?

The condition of navigation channels is reported to NOAA by USACE on a regular basis. As the USACE performs hydrographic surveys of the maintained channels they provide NOAA with the results of these surveys. The survey results are provided on survey sheets and/or controlling depth reports. Hydrographic survey sheets depict the hydrography within the maintained channel as well as the channel limits. The surveys are either a condition or after-dredge survey.  A condition survey, among other things, depicts hydrography prior to dredging operations and the after-dredge survey shows the results of dredging operations. Controlling Depth Reports and Surveys are a tabulated format of the results of a hydrographic survey.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) produces navigation charts based on the table data submitted by ACOE and the US Coast Guard.  Channel condition reports also contain more detailed information concerning the location of extreme shoaling or obstructions that may be located in the channel. (Coastal Channel Data: Cooperative Production of a NOAA/USACE Data Framework, Libeauand Morrison 2005)

“The US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining 52 Federal Navigation Projects (FNP) in Long Island Sound (LIS) and adjacent waters that include dredged general navigation features (channels, anchorages, and turning basins) requiring periodic maintenance dredging.  These include 31 projects in Connecticut, 17 in New York and four in Rhode Island. Dredging is necessary for the continued maintenance, and occasional improvement of these harbors to maintain safe navigation.  The DMMP was tasked with identifying options to be considered in the future by those projects that are ultimately funded.” (2016 DMMP Public Notice, January 11, 2016)

Importance

This target ensures that dredging and maintenance of all federal navigation channels in the Long Island Sound is conducted in a sustainable manner, consistent with the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and the Long Island Sound Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP) so that future generations can enjoy boating in LIS and be assured that environmental degradation does not occur from the maintenance of harbors and embayments. The establishment of baselines, objectives and tracking methods are presently under development by the Steering Committee. Information on dredged material management in Long Island Sound can be found on the EPA website

The need for a Long Island Sound DMMP was identified in the EPA’s June 3, 2005 Rule that designated the CLIS and WLDS for continued use. The EPA’s rule required preparation of a DMMP to examine alternative placement practices, with the goal of reducing or eliminating open water placement of dredged material in the waters of Long Island Sound wherever practicable. Each individual dredging project develops a site specific dredged material management plan (DMMP) which identifies the amount of dredge material to be removed and final disposition of the dredge spoils. The USACOE oversees implementation of that project. Regional updates are published by ACOE.

Final Dredged Material Management Plan and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement was completed and published by the USACE in December 2015.

Additional Information

The New York and New England Districts of USACE oversees implementation of federal navigation channel dredging needs and provides updates on the status of the controlling depth of navigation channels and sufficiency of use by the boating community. NOAA’s National Ocean Service conducts navigation channels assessments and produces navigation maps of the bathymetry of Long Island Sound and its harbors and bays. Regional updates are published by ACOE.

Also:

Contact:

Brian Thompson, CTDEEP
Brian.Thompson@ct.gov
Mark Parker, CTDEEP
Mark.Parker@ct.gov
Charles deQuillfeldt, NYSDEC                                            charles.dequillfeldt@dec.ny.gov 
Ed O’Donnell, USACE, New England District                                                          Edward.G.Odonnell@usace.army.mil

Source of Data

US Army Corps of Engineer – New England District: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Connecticut-Reports/
Connecticut Projects :  http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Connecticut-Projects/ 
US Army Corps of Engineer – New York District – http://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Controlling-Depth-Reports/

Data Notes

 

(from USACE website) Access Constraints:
The US Government furnishes this data and the recipient accepts and uses it with the express understanding that the United States Government makes no warranties, expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, readability, usability or suitability for any particular purpose of the information and the data furnished.The United States shall be under no liability whatsoever to any person by reason of any use made thereof. This data belongs to the Government.Therefore the recipient further agrees not to represent this data to anyone as other than Government provided data. The recipient may not transfer this data to others without also transferring this disclaimer.

(from USACE website) Distribution Liability:
The data represents the results of data collection/processing for a specific U.S. Army Corps of Engineers activity and indicates the general existing conditions. As such, it is only valid for its intended use, content, time, and accuracy specifications. The user is responsible for the results of any application of the data for other than its intended purpose.

  • The technical explanation on how the target was selected is found in Appendix B of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan
  • On December 6, 2016, EPA released the Final Rule (81 FR 87820) designating the Eastern Long Island Sound Dredged Material Disposal Site (ELDS) for long-term use with the same Restrictions on WLDS and CLDS. These Restrictions on site use help meet the goal of reducing or eliminating dredged material disposal in the open waters of Long Island Sound.
  • National Ocean Service (NOS) Charts frequently show controlling depths in a table, which is kept current by the US Coast Guard Local Notice to Mariners. Supplemental Information: The condition of navigation channels is reported to NOAA by USACE on a regular basis. As the USACE performs hydrographic surveys of the maintained channels they provide NOAA with the results of these surveys. The survey results are provided on survey sheets and/or channel condition reports. Hydrographic survey sheets depict the hydrography within the maintained channel as well as the channel limits. The surveys are either a condition or after dredge survey. A condition survey, among other things, depicts hydrography prior to dredging operations and the after dredge survey shows the results of dredging operations.
  • Channel condition reports are a tabulated format of the results of a hydrographic survey. The channel condition reports contain the names of all the reaches in a particular channel. Along with each reach name the project dimensions are listed and they include the reach’s width, project depth and length.

 

 

Subscribe to receive our e-newsletter, Sound Bytes by providing your email address. Interested in a free copy of our print newsletter, Sound Update? Then also provide your home/company/school address.