When To Dredge in NY's Marine Waters? Workshop Summary Sheds Light
Marine Coastal Processes & Facilities / Marinas - News

Stony Brook, NY. September 19, 2014 - New York Sea Grant announces the publication of the Dredging Windows Workshop Summary. This publication summarizes the findings of a New York Sea Grant workshop focusing on the use of dredging “windows” for permitting navigation dredging projects. Windows refer to the optimal time frame in which dredging might be done while causing the least interference with the life cycle of commercially important marine species, notably fish.

This work was funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New York District, who were concerned that the growing number of fish species covered by state windows restrictions has resulted in a situation where the Corps does not have the time necessary to complete critical dredging projects. USACE and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) requested NYSG’s assistance in addressing this long-standing, complex and costly problem.  NYSG worked with Stony Brook University to evaluate the technical basis for the windows and the feasibility of adjusting them to allow work to occur while protecting fisheries. NYSG developed a comprehensive matrix to organize information regulatory agencies used to set windows. NYSDEC and other agencies populated the matrix with biological data on abundance, distribution by habitat life stage and timing, and dredging stressors for 17 species of concern.
Using this matrix as a basis, NYSG brought academic experts together with representatives of USACE, NYSDEC, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and NOAA NMFS at a workshop to review and update the information, examine the feasibility modifying the windows based on the updated information and identify processes that could improve permitting procedures. The discussions only covered fisheries windows and did not include similar restrictions to protect birds or mammals. The area of interest was restricted to the inlets and bays of the south shore of Long Island, the NY/NJ Harbor and Lower Hudson River.
The report contains a detailed summary of the discussions at the workshop, key findings and recommendations for resolving some of the issues related to the windows restrictions. In addition, digital versions of the slide presentations given at the workshop, the windows fisheries information matrix, and a UASACE report on dredging resuspension effects developed in response to the meeting were included in the report and can be found in the files below. The report was compiled by Joseph J. Tanski, New York Sea Grant Extension Program; Henry J. Bokuniewicz, Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; and Cornelia Schlenk, New York Sea Grant Institute.

Dredging Windows Workshop Summary
(pdf) [34 pp.]

Dredging Windows Workshop Summary - Executive Summary (pdf) [4 pp.]


Appendix 3: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Presentations

  • Sediment Resuspension by Dredges: Defining the Issues (pdf)
    Doug Clarke, Environmental Laboratory U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center

  • Maintenance Dredging in the New York District (pdf)
    Randall G. Hintz Chief, Operations Support Branch Operations Division, US Army Corps of Engineers

  • Aquatic Biological Survey: Winter Flounder (pdf)
    Jenine Gallo & Kate Mulvey, US Army Corps of Engineers – New York District

  • Best Management Practices Applied to Dredging Projects for Environmental Protection (pdf)
    Doug Clarke, Engineer Research and Development Center Environmental Laboratory

Appendix 4

  • Dredging Windows Fisheries Information Matrix – Post-Workshop Revision (xls)

Appendix 5

  • USACE’s Simplified Evaluation of Dredging Resuspension Effects, NYSDEC comments, and USACE response (pdf)

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, which, in 2014, merges with the program's e-newsletter, Currents. NY Coastlines is published several times a year.

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