Thursday, September 28, 2017

Project update

We've been in the throes of finalizing the grant--great effort was taken to finish by June 30, but we didn't make the deadline and needed to use the 90-day close out period to get all of the reporting done.  The conceptual designs came together and a long list of next steps is on the docket.  We still have some big outstanding questions and issues.  Here's a brief summary:

  • For using dredge material, we have to be inside Boston Harbor.  It's too energetic at the Devereux Beach site to use the dredge material.  There may be other challenges with the Devereux Beach site too -- high lobster abundance, shellfishermen and a public swimming area, and concerns about aesthetics.  For now, we'll be focusing our energies on trying to determine if we can use the dredge material in Boston Harbor at Gallops Island.  Also, a second Boston Harbor site was recommended by DCR, Sheep Island.  Since DCR owns Gallops and Sheep Islands, we'll be exploring if Sheep has less potential for unintended consequences.
  • We still have time to develop this project in time to use the dredge material, but timing is getting tight for the permitting timeline.  Also, we need to start working out how the material will be screened for suitability.
  • In the coming weeks and months we'll reach out to Marblehead and Boston to follow up and let them know where we are with the project.  We want to do some direct outreach specifically to DEP to discuss some permitting concerns.  And we'll plan another Working Group meeting to discuss next steps and regulatory concerns.  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Quality Assurance Project Plan

The granting agency, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, required projects funded under its Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Competitive Grants Program to complete Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP).  A QAPP is a thorough project management document focused on how data will be appropriately collected, verified for accuracy, and records maintained.

Our document was drafted and revised over the course of 18 months.

The final document is here 4MB pdf.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Reef balls protecting a marsh restoration site.

This project is happening in Stratford Point, CT.

Monday, December 5, 2016

5th Workgroup Meeting Minutes

1-1:15           Welcome, introductions
1:15-1:30      Recap from last time; selection of final 2 sites; overview of where we are (Kathryn Ford)
1:30-1:50      Presentation of baseline assessment field work description (Mark Rousseau)
1:50-2:20      Conceptual reef designs; discussion of shoreline protection potential (John Ramsey)
2:20-2:50      Beneficial reuse document (Jon Kachmar)
2:50-3:00         Next steps, next meeting (Kathryn Ford)

RECAP: March 28 2016 Meeting
  • We discussed the baseline assessment, added and revised a few things – acoustic fish monitoring in particular
  • We discussed which sites should be the two sites.  Two types of sites: those good for dredge material (less wave energy) and those good for a constructed reef (more wave energy).
  • Gallops selected for dredge material site.  Spectacle a very close 2nd choice but concern over downstream impacts and interactions with other user groups led us to select Gallops.
  • Marshfield selected for constructed reef site.  Marblehead tied for 2nd, but some questions (esp surfing) need to be explored.  More communication with towns are warranted.  Two town meetings were held.  Both towns very engaged.  Marblehead does not interfere with surfing, is a simpler pilot study site, so it was selected.

  • Since the last meeting we did the final site selection.
  • We did several field studies to explore the sites and collect baseline data.  The purpose of the work was to 1) see if there were any red flags making the sites unsuitable for reef development; 2) collect baseline data to compare the sites pre and post construction; 3) collect information to help with specific reef location. These studies will be described next.
  • We re-examined the wave monitoring protocol with input from CZM, NEU, and NMFS to assess longer-term wave dampening potential and shorter-term storm wave dampening potential.
  • We explored potential regulatory pathways and determined the best way forward is to permit these sites on their own.  Where the material comes from will be described in the permitting documents and will include Boston Harbor dredge material if it is determined with the Corps input that that material will be available and suitable for our goals.  Who the permittee is is still to be determined.
  • The Corps held a Boston Harbor Technical Working Group meeting and explained the amount of rock could be as high as 175,000 cy (up from 11,000) and the earliest possible time to have rock would be late fall/early winter 2019/2020.
DMF and Northeastern conducted field studies (presentation is here 2.5 mb pdf).  Lots of lobsters at Devereux Beach.  Workgroup participants said basic information was useful but more comprehensive affected environment description is needed.

Reefs will need to come out of the water at low tide in order to have any shoreline protection value.

Permitting could take up to 2 years, and will probably need an EIR.  Performance criteria for shoreline protection could be hard to achieve.


  • complete the grant administration—final report, final conceptual designs
  • begin the permitting process for at least Gallops; who is proponent, have a pre-app
  • talk to Marblehead about how to move forward with their site
  • collect storm wave data
  • process sediment samples
  • another round of baseline assessment, at least in September, but seasonally if funding is available

Monday, November 7, 2016

5th Workgroup Meeting Announcement

Please hold November 22nd from 1:00PM-3:00PM for our next Boston Harbor Beneficial Reuse meeting. The meeting will be held at The Nature Conservancy office in Boston (99 Bedford Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02111).

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Boston Harbor Technical Working Group

Yesterday the Army Corps and Massport hosted a Technical Working Group meeting to discuss Boston Harbor navigational dredging projects.  The last TWG meeting was 12/15/2015.

There are two main projects the Corps is working on:
  1. The ordinary material dredging – sand/silt/small gravel that is dredged out, includes rippable (aka weathered) rock that is removed by the mechanical dredge.  Total amount of material is 11 mil cy.  Rippable rock is estimated at 450,000 cy.  The work is estimated to be out for bid by Sept 2018.  This material will cap the CAD cell they’re making now and go to the Mass Bay disposal site.
  2. Rock blasting.  After the dredging, the after-dredge survey will help to determine locations and need for blasting of fast rock; since some of the fast rock might be removed by the dredge, they won’t know exactly how much will be available until then.  The current estimate for fast rock is 175,000 cy.  (That’s a big difference from 11,000 projected last year.)  Design work is just hitting full steam now.  They expect the absolute earliest possible date for bidding the rock work is Sept 2019.  Corps is optimistic that some of the rock will be compatible for reef building – pictures we've seen to date are from rock that was blasted with overburden sediment on top.  In this project, the top sediment will be removed first, so there will be more rock.  Any material we can't/don't use will go to the Mass Bay disposal site.