Stop Plan to Dump Waste into Vital Inlet

Sunset over Long Island Sound by Matt Kane

Target: Meghan Quinn, Program Manager of the Long Island Sound DMMP/PEIS , U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Goal: Safeguard the health of a tidal estuary from a proposed plan to allow dredged soil to be dumped in this vital inlet.

A vital estuary is in danger of pollution by a proposed plan to continue open water dumping of dredged soils in the estuary for the next 30 years. This water source is crucial for the economy and for aquatic wildlife and, if this plan is approved, it will destroy water quality and wildlife habitat. Alternative methods can be used to deal with dredged materials instead of dumping the waste into this beneficial inlet. Action must be taken now to stop this open water dumping plan before it is approved.

Located on the shores of New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, the Long Island Sound is a large coastal inlet that is home to 120 species of finfish and provides 200,000 jobs. The sound’s economic value is between $17 billion to $37 billion annually. This special estuary, labeled as an Estuary of National Significance, should be protected but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) newest plan, known as the Dredged Material Management Plan (DMMP),  proposes to dispose of 30 to 50 million cubic yards of dredged soils in the sound over the course of three decades.

Ten years ago, a similar plan had been proposed for the Long Island Sound but it was rejected because officials believed that USACE should focus on phasing out open water disposal and practice alternative methods for reuse. Ten years has passed since the first proposal and the sound is still not protected from dumping.

Most of the dredged waste is dug up from the bottom of rivers, harbors, and inlets in Connecticut to make the waterways more navigable. Beach nourishment, wetland restoration, and landfill capping are a few alternative methods for dredged soils rather than dumping the material in the sound. There is a chance that some of the dredged soil could be toxic due to the dumping of materials during New England’s Industrial Age. Even if the dredged soil is nontoxic, the increase in sediment due to dumping in the estuary will most definitely still impact the habitat of aquatic life.

By signing this petition, you are demanding that USACE reject the DMMP proposal and enforce alternative, safe methods to deal with dredged waste instead of dumping in the Long Island Sound.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Program Manager Quinn,

The Long Island Sound is a crucial inlet for aquatic life and for the economy. With an economic value of $17 to $35 million annually and as a home to 120 finfish species, this estuary should be protected. However, I am afraid the DMMP proposed by the USACE jeopardizes the water quality of the inlet.

The DMMP is similar to a rejected plan that was proposed more than 10 years ago. We must move past open water dumping of dredged waste due to the affects on water quality and wildlife habitat. I urge you to please find safe alternative methods to dump or reuse dredged waste for the health of the Long Island Sound, aquatic life, and the local economy.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Matt Kane

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