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The Deep Creek Lake Cove Dredging Project Newsletter


April 2017
Maryland Environmental Service (MES) is preparing this newsletter to keep the Deep Creek Lake community informed about this project and ways for community members to stay actively involved.

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What is the Dredging Project?

In 2015 the Maryland Legislature added language to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Boating Services’ Waterway Improvement Fund (WIF) Program to make Deep Creek Lake eligible for funding for dredging projects. While not a traditional application of WIF funding, the benefits of potentially removing sediment accumulation in one or more of 10 coves in Deep Creek Lake could improve the recreational benefits to recreational users of the Lake, if deemed economically and environmentally feasible.
Garrett County Government has identified a need for assistance in completing the WIF grant application to potentially fund dredging of one or more coves in Deep Creek Lake. These ten coves were identified through studies that showed sediment accumulation greater than one foot. The County has hired Maryland Environmental Service (MES), an independent state agency, to provide technical services through this process.
Funding Factoids:
● Deep Creek Lake qualifies for “Tier II” funding which requires a 50% match of funds.
● WIF funding requires the County to submit an application for funding.
● The appropriation of funding from the WIF is a competitive process and our application will be evaluated and ranked accordingly.
● The County will receive $161,930 from DNR to assist in developing and submitting the WWIF application.  The County will also receive $250,000 from DNR, which is allocated towards a project.
● As part of the application process, MES will prepare an analysis of all 10 coves and, based on scientific analysis, make recommendations to prioritize sediment removal.
● We anticipate the application process will take 12-18 months, with the goal of submitting the application in August 2017.
● The application process is a separate process.  The County will continue to work with DNR and our local delegation to develop alternative funding sources/methods for sediment removal in Deep Creek Lake
In preparation for completing the WIF grant application, an evaluation of 10 coves in Deep Creek Lake is being completed to determine potential project location(s). Through an alternatives analysis, MES and its subcontractor will determine the most cost-effective and environmentally and publicly acceptable cove(s) that could potentially be dredged. These lake coves have been identified as priority study areas: Arrowhead Cove, Harvey’s Peninsula, Poland Run Cove, Glen Glade Cove, Hazelhurst Cove, Turkey Neck Cove, Chatterton School Cove, Deep Creek Cove, Penn Point Cove, and Pawn Run Cove. It is important to remember that dredging in the main stems of the lake is not needed!
Each of these coves is being evaluated for potential dredging projects under three primary categories: project feasibility, WIF grant criteria, and MDNR stakeholder concerns. The coves will be further evaluated within these categories according to a number of criteria:
Project feasibility is an important consideration when planning a dredging project and Garrett County must weigh the benefits of a dredging project against the anticipated costs. Coves will be prioritized to identify projects that can efficiently remove the most sediment with minimal impact to the community and environment and at practical cost. Criteria for evaluating coves for project feasibility include:
  • Estimated amount of sediment that has accumulated within each cove
  • Amount of sediment that could be potentially dredged from each cove
  • Sediment removal techniques such as hydraulic dredging, mechanical wet-dredging, and mechanical dredging in-the-dry
  • Anticipated dredging production rates and impacts to schedule
  • Environmental restrictions
  • Locations for potential staging areas, including amount of area required and impacts to local roadways from truck traffic
  • Options for placement of dredged material
 
WIF grant application criteria. To evaluate, the coves were prioritized based on which would be the most likely candidate for receiving the WIF grant. These criteria include, but are not limited to:
  • Does the project expand or improve boating access for the general public?
  • Does the project improve boating safety by improving treacherous navigational and operating conditions?
  • Does the project have a high cost/benefit ratio? Projects that benefit a larger number of people are scored higher.
  • Has the project begun or completed the permitting process?
  • Will grant funds be expended in the approved fiscal year?
  • Is this a continuation of a current project?
  • Will there be an impact to boating congestion?
  • Does the project incorporate sustainable elements and environmentally sensitive components?
  • Is the project a state or local priority? Projects that are mandatory, have special circumstance, or have a high local/state priority are preferred.
 
MDNR and stakeholder concerns include, but are not limited to:
  • Environmental impacts to shallow water habitat, release of organic material into the water column, lake stratification, submerged aquatic vegetation and related monitoring programs, invasive vegetative species, fisheries, benthic community
  • Economic impact
  • Lake water level impacts
  • Recreational activity impact (boating, fishing, whitewater rafting, swimming)
  • Community support
  • Proximity to placement area
  • Current and historical cove depth
  • Dredging engineering logistics
  • Permitting and potential mitigation costs
 
A concise report will be prepared that identifies a recommended plan, based upon the above criteria.
 
So how did we get here? Sedimentation!
Sediment transport, or the movement of sediment, is a naturally occurring process taking place both on land and in water. Things such as land use, precipitation, vegetation types, soil types, and elevation can influence the level of sediment transport. In areas where there is active development or agriculture, which loosens the soil, one may see a larger amount of sediment transport.
 
The sediment found in Deep Creek Lake has actively been transported and deposited since the lake’s development in 1925. The process of depositing sediment is called sedimentation. Due to sedimentation, some areas, such as the ten identified coves, have become increasingly shallow. Sediment sources for Deep Creek Lake vary widely, but may include: streambank and shoreline erosion, agriculture, and upstream and shoreline development.
Upcoming events
Are you interested in staying informed about the potential dredging at Deep Creek Lake? Join us for an informational webinar on sedimentation, dredging, and the evaluation process taking place to prioritize those coves most impacted by sedimentation.
A meeting date will be announced at a later date, which will be announced in this newsletter.
Be sure not to miss any updates throughout the dredging evaluation process! Sign-up for our occasional newsletter today. In future issues, we’ll explore the dredging process, provide updates on the evaluation, and keep you up to date on the rest of the project.
 
Newsletters not your thing? Visit the Garrett County website  for the most up-to-date information on the dredging evaluation and upcoming meetings.
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