PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Personnel with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Fifth District in Portsmouth and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Norfolk District completed a joint project that dredged and re-marked the Quinby Creek waterway in Accomack County on Wednesday.
The USACE-led dredging project, completed by Cottrell Contracting Corporation on January 31, increased the depth of the approximate 7,200-foot federal navigation channel that connects into the turning basin from Upsher Bay to Quinby Landing. An estimated 143,000 cubic yards of material was removed as the waterway was dredged to the required depth of six feet, plus one additional foot.
“With the successful completion of this dredging project, the waterway is now serviceable,” said Jason Flowers, USACE project manager.
The Coast Guard was previously unable to effectively maintain aids to navigation in this area due to previous shoaling and inaccessibility. Over the past few days, the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Team Chincoteague crews have been able to re-mark this Quinby Creek Waterway as well as remark down to the Quinby Inlet to help mariners safely navigate along this narrow part of the Virginia Inside Passage (VIP).
“We work closely with our federal, state and local partner agencies to ensure waterways are reasonably stable and of sufficient depth for the Coast Guard to safely mark with aids to navigation,” said Capt. Rick Wester, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. “We were able to safely re-mark Quinby Creek after reviewing the USACE’s survey results following the dredging.”
In May 2016, the USACE and the USCG briefed the Eastern Shore Regional Waterways Commission and members of the public at Eastern Shore Community College in Melfa on the decision to discontinue 166 rather than the originally proposed 241 navigational aids within the VIP due to shoaling and other navigational safety concerns.
After reviewing the new 2015 USACE hydrographic water survey results for the VIP and evaluating the 42 public comments from local, state and congressional members, the USCG reassessed their initial plans. In cases where funding is made available to dredge channels previously closed due to unsafe, shallow conditions, the USCG decided to remark those waterways, as well as continue maintaining safe and navigable waterways in Wachapreague Inlet, Great Machipango Inlet and Chincoteague Inlet and the smaller waterways of Quinby Creek and Folleys Creek, all depending on their water depths and aid accessibility.
The Coast Guard is responsible for providing an aids to navigation system, marine information and services that enable safe navigation of the mariner.
“Getting this small waterway back in service demonstrates the coordinated efforts between the USACE and the USCG, and our commitment to reevaluate waterways when federal maintenance dredging funds become available,” said Wester.