Wood Island Harbor and the Pool at Biddeford Maintenance Dredging

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), North Atlantic Division, New England District (NAE) is preparing to restore the Wood Island Harbor and the Pool at Biddeford Federal Navigation Project (FNP) to their authorized dimensions to promote navigational safety and efficiency. The proposed work involves dredging approximately 45,000 cubic yards (cy) of sand and silty material from an area of roughly 8.4 acres within Wood Island Harbor channel and the anchorage area of Biddeford Pool. A private contractor, under contract to the government, would use a mechanical bucket dredge and scows to dredge the sand and silty material separately. The sandy material will be placed at the Camp Ellis Nearshore Placement Site, approximately 3 nm from the dredge site, and the fine-grained material would be placed at the Saco Bay Disposal Site (SBDS). Dredging is expected to take 3 to 4 months in the fall and winter months (November 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021). This project is funded by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. There is no cost to the City of Biddeford for this project.

USACE Press Release: Corps proposes maintenance dredging of Wood Island and Pool at Biddeford Federal navigation project in Maine


CONCORD, Mass. (May 15, 2020) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District is proposing to perform maintenance dredging of the Wood Island and Pool at Biddeford Federal Navigation Project (FNP) in Biddeford, Maine. The City of Biddeford requested that this project be maintained.

The proposed work involves maintenance dredging of portions of the 10-foot-deep Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW) Federal navigation channel and 6-foot-deep basin at Biddeford Pool, plus 1 foot authorized overdepth, in the FNP.

“Natural shoaling processes have reduced available depths to as little as 6.3 feet in the 10-foot MLLW channel and 0.6 feet MLLW in the Pool at Biddeford anchorage making navigation hazardous at lower stages of the tide,” said Project Manager Craig Martin, of the Corps’ New England District, Programs/Project Management Division in Concord, Massachusetts “Maintenance dredging of approximately 39,000 cubic yards of fine-grained sand and 6,000 cubic yards of silt from approximately 8.4 acres of the authorized project area will restore the inner harbor portion of the FNP to authorized dimensions.”

The proposed nearshore placement site for the fine sand removed from the FNP is a rectangular 10-acre site situated offshore of Camp Ellis Beach. Water depths at the nearshore placement site range from approximately 10 to 18 feet MLLW. The Corps of Engineers used this site to place material from the Scarborough River FNP maintenance project in 1995 and the Saco River FNP in 2016.

The proposed placement site for the silt removed from the FNP is the Saco Bay Disposal Site (SBDS), which is located approximately 4 nautical miles northeast of the FNP and 2.7 nautical miles east of Ferry Beach. The site consists of a 500 yard diameter circular area. It ranges from approximately 100 to 110 feet in depth.

A private contractor, under contract to the government, will use a mechanical dredge and scows to remove the material and then transport it for placement at the disposal sites. Construction is expected to take between 3 to 4 months between Nov. 1 and March 31 of the year or years in which funds become available.

Proposed work is being coordinated with: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; National Marine Fisheries Service; Maine Department of Environmental Protection; Maine State Planning Office; Maine Department of Marine Resources; Maine Historic Preservation Commission; Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Indians; and the City of Biddeford. An Environmental Assessment is in preparation and will be available for review on request when complete.

The public notice, with more detailed information, is available for review on the Corps website. Public comments on this proposed dredging should be forwarded no later than June 14, 2020 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Programs/Project Management Division (ATTN: Mr. Craig Martin), 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751 or by email to nae-pn-nav@usace.army.mil.