Dawson and Associates Find Viable, Less-Damaging Alternative on Searsport Dredging
The Washington, DC consulting firm of Dawson and Associates reviewed documents relating to enlarging the federal navigation channel serving Searsport, Maine on behalf of Islesboro Islands Trust and concluded that:
- A less environmentally damaging, practical, nonstructural alternative to the proposed project exists that would accommodate 97% of the desired future fleet.
- Potential mercury contamination of the proposed dredge and dredge disposal sites must be further analyzed before the project moves forward.
- Several Army Corps of Engineers’ (the Corps) economic assumptions are questionable and could significantly affect projected cost benefit ratios.
Dawson and Associates conclude that the Searsport Harbor Navigation Project — unless drastically altered — requires further study (such as an Environmental Impact Statement) to assess these issues fully and comprehensively.
Dawson & Associates is the nation’s premier firm for resolving complex challenges involving federal water resources and environmental regulatory policy and procedures. Dawson and Associates’ have decades of successful association with the Corps, the EPA, the Department of the Interior and the United States Congress.
The Dawson team includes a number of former military officers, attorneys and academic leaders. Islesboro Islands Trust hired Dawson to advise on technical and policy issues associated with the proposed Searsport Harbor dredging.
According to the Environmental Assessment prepared by the Corps last spring for this proposal, “Normally, the USACE prepares an Environmental Impact Statement (pursuant to 33 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 230.6) for Federal actions that require a Feasibility Report for authorization and construction of major projects.” Economic and environmental questions that the proposed dredging raises but does not adequately answer require an Environmental Impact Statement.
The nonstructural alternative includes maintenance dredging the entry to 35 feet and deepening the layover berths next to the piers to 45 feet. Dawson found that 97% of projected shipping benefits identified by the Corps in their proposal would be achieved using this alternative but would require substantially less dredging than the Corps’ proposal.
Islesboro Islands Trust, the Dawson Group and Maine State Legislators Chuck Kruger, Mick Devin, Jeff Evangelos and Joan Welsh held a press conference in the Capital Hall of Flags Thursday, June 12, 2014 to introduce the report. Click here to download a PDF version of the report (1.2 MB)
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