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Title: Rhodes Point, Smith Island, Maryland : Section 107 Feasibility Report and Integrated Environmental Assessment
Authors: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Baltimore District.
Keywords: Chesapeake Bay (Md. And Va.)
Coastal engineering
Rhodes Point (Md.)
Environmental protection
Environmental management
Channels (Hydraulic engineering)
Publisher: United States. Army. Corps of Engineers. Baltimore District.
Abstract: Rhodes Point is located along the southwestern shoreline of Smith Island in Somerset County, Maryland. Smith Island is located approximately 8 miles west of Crisfield, Maryland, and 95 miles south of Baltimore. Smith Island is bounded to the east by Tangier Sound, to the west by Chesapeake Bay, and straddles the Maryland/Virginia border. Smith Island is actually a series of small clusters of marsh areas, separated by shallow tidal guts (creeks or channels). The small pockets of upland are used as the residential portions of the island's three towns: Tylerton, Ewell, and Rhodes Point. The area of interest during this study was Sheep Pen Gut, which connects Rhodes Point to the Chesapeake Bay. The current Federal navigation channel that serves Rhodes Point goes through Sheep Pen Gut. The primary navigation problem being experienced by the watermen of Rhodes Point and the watermen of Tylerton, who also use the channel, is rapid shoaling of the existing Federal channel at Sheep Pen Gut, which provides access to the crabbing, oystering and fishing areas in Chesapeake Bay. The existing Federal navigation project consists of a channel 6 feet deep and 50 feet wide from the northern limit of the Rhodes Point to Tylerton channel through Sheep Pen Gut channel to deep water in the Chesapeake Bay. The project was authorized in January 1982 under the Continuing Authority of Section 107 of the River and Harbor Act of 1960. The Sheep Pen Gut channel shoals much more quickly than the other channels in the area. Local users say that after dredging, the channel shoals within a few months. Once this happens, the 30 commercial watermen who use the channel must travel south from Rhodes Point toward Tylerton, north through Tyler Ditch to Ewell, and then out to the Bay through the Big Thorofare jetties, adding 30 minutes each way and an additional 10 miles round-trip distance to the watermen's fishing trip. A variety of structural and non-structural measures were considered during this feasibility study to address the navigation-related problems at Rhodes Point. Among the plans of improvement considered were relocation of the watermen, channel realignment or the construction of jetties, groins, breakwaters and/or a shoreline revetment. After applying technical criteria to screen the alternatives, three rubble-mound jetty alternatives were selected for further evaluation. One jetty alternative included construction of a single jetty north of a realigned channel. A second jetty alternative featured twin jetties with continued use of the existing navigation channel. The third jetty alternative included twin jetties, one on either side of a realigned navigation channel. The twin jetty alternative with a realigned channel is the recommended plan. This alternative features a jetty north of the navigation channel 1,300 feet long and a jetty south of the navigation channel 1,500 feet long. The realigned portion of the navigation channel will be approximately 1,500 feet in length. This alternative produced a benefit to cost ratio of 1.37 and net annual benefits of $42,000. This estimated total project cost is $3,163,000 (October 2001). This cost includes $665,000 to construct a breakwater and wetland plantings expected to produce about 2 acres of marshland using the material dredged from the navigation channel. The cost share for this Section 107 project will be 90 percent Federal ($2,846,700) and 10 percent non-Federal ($316,300) with an additional 10 percent non-Federal payback ($316,300) after completion of project construction. The overall environmental impacts associated with the construction and maintenance of the twin jetties and 4 offshore breakwaters at Rhodes Point have been evaluated and assessed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Based on this assessment, the Corps does not anticipate any significant adverse environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. Resource agency and public responses to this assessment will be coordinated and addressed during the public review period. Alternatives to the proposed action have been described and evaluated within. Therefore, it has been determined that the preparation of an environmental impact statement is not warranted. An Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) analysis was conducted in the study area for the December 2001 Twitch Cove, Big Thorofare River, and Rhodes Point to Tylerton Federal Navigation Channel Maintenance Dredging EA. The EFH analysis determined that the only potentially affected species in the Smith Island EFH area are the bluefish and the summer flounder. Since both species can relocate during construction, any impacts to their habitats will be minor, and for the most part, temporary. The District has concluded that this action will not affect any species covered under the Magnuson-Stevenson Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The District has prepared a finding of no significant impact (FONSI), which is provided in this integrated EA. The results of the feasibility phase support Federal involvement in constructing the twin jetty project with a realigned channel and offshore breakwaters for placement of dredged material to improve commercial navigation at Rhodes Point on Smith Island, Maryland. The non-Federal sponsor, the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agrees with the findings in this report and has provided a letter of intent to cost share the project. The letter of intent is included in Annex D of this report. In view of this expression of non-Federal support and the favorable results of the technical analyses, the District Engineer recommends the selected plan for implementation under the Section 107 authority.
Description: Feasibility Report and Integrated Environmental Assessment
Rights: Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited
Appears in Collections:Environmental Documents

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