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US: Corps Awards Contract for Bird Island Ecosystem Restoration Project

Posted on October 20, 2015

The Bird Island Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration project in Buzzards Bay, Marion, Mass, will be completed under the terms of a US$3,120,000.00 contract recently awarded by the US Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. The project is partnered by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, with the Commonwealth contributing 35 per cent of the project costs, and the Corps of Engineers providing 65 per cent of the necessary funds.

Work will be accomplished by Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting Co LLC. Construction is scheduled to start on or about 15 October 2015 and take about 18 months to complete.

“The project involves the reconstruction of Bird Island, which is a 4 acre gravel and boulder-composed island in Buzzards Bay, approximately one-half mile off the coast of Sippican Point and 3 miles from the Marion town wharf,” said Project Manager Adam Burnett, of the Corps’ New England District, Engineering and Planning Division in Concord, Mass.

The project involves barging in approximately 13,000 tons of armour stone to the island and reconstruction and repair of approximately 1,000 linear feet of stone revetment surrounding Bird Island, importing and filling approximately 5,000 cubic yards of gravel on the island, and planting native vegetation in order to re-establish and expand habitat for Federally endangered roseate terns and also common terns, which are listed as a Massachusetts species of special concern. Bird Island is one of only three small islands along the coast of the US that still provide the critical nesting habitat for the endangered northeast population of roseate tern.

Bird Island is owned by the town of Marion under the management of the Conservation Commission. The island has an active historic lighthouse, owned and operated by Marion. The town of Marion granted a permanent easement to the state of Massachusetts to access the island and manage the bird habitat.

Access to the island is by shallow-draft boat or barge and will require installation of a temporary unloading platform extending off the island. Installation of two pile structures is allowed in the near shore area. Construction work on the island is limited to an environmental window between 8 September 8 and 6 April A staging and loading area will be available to the contractor at the Marion Town Wharf. The project will be completed in two construction seasons, with completion by April 2017.

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