New York Rejects Plan to Put Dredged Material at New London

The New York State Secretary of State has rejected the U.S. Department of the Navy’s proposal to dispose of 230,000 cubic yards (cy) of dredged material excavated from below the federal navigation channel within the Thames River at the New London Disposal Site (NLDS) in Long Island Sound.

The New York Department of State determined that the proposal is not consistent with four of the Long Island Sound Coastal Management Plan (LIS CMP) policies.

Secretary of State Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez said: “It is important that we protect the health and character of the Long Island Sound. The US Navy’s plan would have had a negative impact on the eastern portion of the Sound, a very unstable, fast moving marine environment. It has been, and will continue to be, a priority of New York to reduce or eliminate open-water disposal of dredged material within Long Island Sound."

The NLDS is located 1.5 miles west of Fishers Island, as well as within close proximity to several state and federally designated Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitats and regionally significant recreational and commercial fishing areas. The proposed 230,000cy of fine grained material is enough to spread approximately 1 foot of material across 129 football fields. The Navy’s proposal to dispose of 230,000 cubic yards of Thames River sediments at NLDS would have the effect of smothering benthic life and degrading the marine environment both at the site and in the surrounding area.

Along with several other alternatives provided to the Navy, the Department of State determined that the more suitable disposal location, designated in 2005 as the Central Long Island Sound (CLIS) Disposal Site by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is a more appropriate disposal location for the Navy’s material due to significantly different hydrological conditions and would be consistent with the LIS CMP. The temporary use of two EPA designated sites located within western and central Long Island Sound have been determined to be consistent with New York policy until the completion of a Dredged Material Management Plan, which is intended to identify and facilitate available alternatives to open-water disposal.

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