Mid-Atlantic
Comments are being solicited from the public about a proposal to use dredge materials to build up marshland near Wachapreague, Virginia. (Photo: Submitted image)

Army Corps details plan to use dredge spoils for marsh restoration in Accomack Virginia

Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were in Wachapreague on Tuesday to answer questions and solicit comments from the public about a proposal to use dredge spoils to build up nearby marshland.

The Army Corps and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission recently announced the release of a draft program related to proposed future beneficial uses of dredged material in the Cedar Island area.

Members of the public could submit comments about the plan at the open house at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Wachapreague campus on Tuesday, or may comment on the Draft Integrated Feasibility Report/Environmental Assessment until June 18.

Marshland near Wachapreague, Virginia is the subject of proposed beneficial use of dredge spoils by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Marshland near Wachapreague, Virginia is the subject of proposed beneficial use of dredge spoils by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. (Photo: Staff photo by Carol Vaughn)

An electronic copy of the draft assessment is available for public viewing at the Continuing Authorities Program, Section 204, Beneficial Uses of Dredged Material study website: https://www.nao.usace.army.mil/About/Projects/Cedar-Island-CAP-204/\

Comments are being solicited from the public about a proposal to use dredge materials to build up marshland near Wachapreague, Virginia.
Comments are being solicited from the public about a proposal to use dredge materials to build up marshland near Wachapreague, Virginia. (Photo: Submitted image)

Comments are being solicited from the public about a proposal to use dredge materials to build up marshland near Wachapreague, Virginia. (Photo: Submitted image)

People may submit comments until June 18 to Richard Harr, USACE, via email, mail or telephone at richard.m.harr@usace.army.mil; ATTN: Richard Harr, Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, Fort Norfolk, 803 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; or at 757-201-7746.

RELATED    Cedar Island marsh expansion to protect against sea-level rise in Accomack

Members of the public look at displays during an informational meeting about an Army Corps proposal for beneficial use of dredge spoils in Wachapreague, Virginia on Tuesday, June 4,  2019.
Members of the public look at displays during an informational meeting about an Army Corps proposal for beneficial use of dredge spoils in Wachapreague, Virginia on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. (Photo: Staff photo by Carol Vaughn)

According to the study, the project, if approved and funded, could:

  • Reduce the current rate of tidal wetland shoreline and marsh island degradation and loss
  • Expand and enhance the existing wetlands and marsh islands to enhance fish habitat, fishery resources, and wildlife habitat
  • Increase the area of intertidal mudflat habitat to provide increased foraging opportunities for avian fauna
  • Create long-term, sustainable solutions to reduce tidal wetland erosion rates, increase sediment accretion rates, and increase shoreline protection
  • Enhance existing shoreline protection to the town of Wachapreague through wetland and marsh island creation, enhancement and protection
  • Adaptively manage dredged material placement sites in response to the constantly fluxing ecosystem under the continual threats of such erosion, subsidence and sea-level rise.

The Army Corps analyzed wetland loss in the Cedar Island back barrier area from 1931 to 2016.

“The idea is to use the dredge material from the Bradford Bay and Finney Creek channels, which are authorized federal navigation channels that the Army Corps currently dredges, and instead of putting the material in open-water disposal, we would try to get more environmental benefits and use that for wetland enhancement and/or restorations,” said Alicia Logalbo, chief of the Environmental Analysis Section of Planning and Policy Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District.

After studying different options for using the dredge material, the preferred option is to spray a thin layer of dredge spray on existing wetlands in the southern half of the Fool’s Gut marsh island.

“Basically, the idea would not be to change the wetland system, but just to enhance it and help maintain the existing elevations on the island to help address sea-level rise and subsidence issues that are currently being faced by the wetland,” Logalbo said.

Read Delmarva Daily Times article . . .