Queen Bess Island Restoration Project

This project is designed to restore suitable colonial waterbird nesting and brood rearing habitat on the island from its current size of less than 5 acres to approximately 36 acres. This will be accomplished by hydraulically dredging sediment from a nearby suitable offshore sand source and disposing of it within existing rock ring that outlines the island. The island shall be pumped to a postconstruction settled elevation of +5.5’ NAVD 88. Small limestone will be deposited on most of the perimeter of the island to create a low maintenance beach-like feature for nesting terns and skimmers. Following construction, the island will be planted with suitable vegetation to provide optimal nesting substrate such as oyster grass, wire grass, marsh elder, and black mangrove.

This project is consistent with the Replenish and Protect Living Coastal and Marine Resources programmatic goal, Birds restoration type, and adaptive management criteria in the PDARP/PEIS. In addition, it would meet the evaluation criteria established by OPA because:

  • the project likely benefits more than one resource (restore and enhance nesting habitat for multiple bird species);
  • the project would prevent future injury to the area by elevating the island and reinforcing the surrounding protective rock dike to restore bird habitat injured by the DWH oil spill;
  • collateral injury will be avoided by addressing the potential for collateral impacts in project design and employing best management practices in project implementation;
  • there is a high likelihood of success because the project is technically feasible and utilizes proven and established restoration methods used by other projects in the region;
  • cost estimates are based on similar past projects, and similar projects have been constructed at a reasonable cost; and
  • there would be no effect on public health and safety.

This project is consistent with the Coastal Master Plan. The nexus between the injury and programmatic restoration goal is clear.

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Restoration Goal and Type: Replenish and Protect Living Coastal and Marine Resources: Birds

Proposed funding for Engineering and Design: $2,500,000