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USCG Recapitalize Buoy Tender Waterfront Project at NAVSTA Newport
ESS provided environmental studies and regulatory permitting as part of a design-build project team led by Haskell. The Project involved design and construction of berths for United States Coast Guard (USCG) buoy tender vessels homeported at Naval Station Newport in Newport, Rhode Island between Piers 1 and 2 in Coddington Cove.
The Project consisted of both shore-side and waterfront improvements. Shore-side improvements included construction of a Shore Operations Building, parking area, stormwater management system to collect and treat runoff generated from the USCG facility, and demolition of an existing Navy building. The Project’s waterfront improvements included installing shore tie utilities, cleats, bollards, and fenders for three USCG cutters; paving along the waterfront; dredging of 5,000 cubic yards of material between the piers to deepen water for maneuvering and berthing of vessels; and extending the sheet pile wall to provide a longer mooring face.
ESS evaluated various permit strategies taking into account the site’s status as a federal facility, the planned components of the Project, and upland and coastal regulatory requirements. An overall strategy was then developed to comply with the requirements of the State of Rhode Island and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New England District, while minimizing the time required to advance the Project through the permitting process.
ESS scientists performed numerous technical studies for the Project to support project design, constructability analyses, and environmental permitting. ESS conducted desktop evaluations of potential environmental impacts to water quality, finfish, essential fish habitat (EFH), land use, endangered and threatened species, and cultural resources.
In preparation for dredging, ESS developed and implemented a CRMC/RIDEM-approved Sediment Sampling Plan and Upland Fill Material Sampling Plan designed to evaluate soil management and disposal options. ESS collected vibracores of shallow marine sediment throughout the designated dredge area for bulk physical and chemical analyses. ESS also analyzed these samples to characterize the taxonomic richness and faunal density of organisms in the benthic community.
Based on the analytical results from this sampling, proposed dewatering plans, the alternatives available for off-site upland disposal or onsite beneficial reuse of dredged materials, and with the Rhode Island State Dredging Coordinator, ESS then generated a Dredged Material Management Plan. Due to the quality of sediment identified during laboratory testing, beneficial re-use options were not practical. The sediment quality did, however, meet the requirements for disposal in the Confined Aquatic Disposal (CAD) cell located in the Providence River. Use of the CAD cell was selected as the preferred option and state and federal permits were secured to allow the dredged material to be placed there.
As a redevelopment activity, the Project was required to meet certain water quality and recharge standards of the Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual (RISDISM). ESS guided Haskell’s design of a stormwater management system that incorporated existing stormwater controls as well as implemented new controls for runoff generated by the new parking lot, buoy storage yard, and a portion of the Shore Operations Building. With these controls, the Project design avoids new stormwater discharges or increases in peak discharge flow rated beyond pre-development levels.
ESS led the preparation of all required environmental permit applications and submitted a Joint Permit Application on behalf of the USCG to obtain the following permits:
- Coastal Zone Management Act Federal Consistency Determination
- Approval from RIDEM and CRMC for Marine Dredging and Associated Activities
- Section 10/404 USACE General Permit Category 2
- Section 401 Water Quality Certification
- RIPDES Construction General Permit
Pre-application meetings were held with the RI Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) to discuss the planned permitting strategy and to coordinate anticipated permit application review timeframes. The Joint Permit Application was submitted to RIDEM, CRMC, and the USACE for simultaneous agency review of both landside and waterfront components of the Project.
The technical studies performed by ESS indicated only minimal, temporary, and localized environmental impacts; however, some mitigation measures were required for construction activities. For example, to reduce water quality impacts during dredging, a turbidity curtain will be used to contain suspended sediments. To reduce sound during installation of sheet piles, vibratory advancement was selected as the preferred method for underwater pile driving.
ESS worked with Haskell to identify a number of project-specific mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the impacts of stormwater runoff generated during construction. These include Best Management Practices (BMPs), reduction of potential sources of contamination, stormwater management controls, and sequencing of landside construction activities.
While developing the initial Project strategy, ESS determined that local permits identified in the USCG’s design/build specifications for the Project were not actually required. This saved the USCG approximately $11,000 in initially anticipated project costs. In addition, because the Joint Permit Application was submitted for simultaneous agency review the Project’s required state and federal permits were issued within four months of submitting the Joint Permit Application.