Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Navy to dredge 25 acres of coral

Navy to dredge 25 acres of coral

Thursday, 26 November 2009 04:20
by Jennifer Naylor Gesick |
Variety News Staff

THE Navy plans to dredge approximately 25 acres of coral for the construction of a new wharf to accommodate an aircraft carrier at Polaris Point, according to the draft environmental impact statement.

The total area to be dredged is approximately 71 acres and 608,000 cubic yards of dredged material is expected.

The second choice of locations for the carrier is the old ship repair facility. That option would only need a total of 61 acres dredged with a total of 24 acres of coral.

The draft study concluded that 35 percent of the area to be dredged contained some level of coral coverage and 39 percent of the area at the old ship repair facility.

"Polaris Point has approximately 4 percent less coral to be removed,” according to the draft study.

Four large patch reefs will be affected, Jade, Western, Big Blue, and the unnamed reef.

The study also says that dredging is anticipated to last from eight to 18 months working 24 hours a day to complete the entire proposed action. A total of 172 acres will be affected.

“In general 35 percent of proposed dredge area contains some coral coverage and virtually all consists of reefs that were dredged 60 years ago during the creation of Inner Apra Harbor,” states the study.

The draft impact report outlines four dredged material disposal options: 100 percent ocean disposal, 100 percent upland placement, 100 percent beneficial reuse, and a mixture of 20 to 25 percent beneficial reuse and 70 to 80 percent ocean disposal.

The report, however, does not identify the selected option.

Four land areas are being considered as the possible disposal site. They are three unnamed fields on Sumay Drive in Santa Rita and the Public Works Center inside the Navy Base.

The dredging and construction of the new wharf is expected to have little to no effect on cultural resources such as historic sites and archaeological resources, according to the study.

The onshore operations are expected to have no impact, because there are no buildings or sites listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Offshore, dredging is not likely to indirectly impact submerged resources because the Navy plans to implement best management practices to reduce sedimentation from dredging.

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