AMS has conducted several investigations for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) supporting both fish entrainment and water quality monitoring during maintenance dredging operations and in dredged material placement sites (DMPS’). This work has been closely coordinated with the USACE, and addresses management questions of importance to the State Water Board.
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) conducts annual dredging operations to maintain shipping channels in San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento and Stockton Deepwater Ship Channels. Under permit requirements, during active dredging and disposal of dredged material, fish entrainment and water quality monitoring is required by the State Water Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Dredge monitoring is conducted in San Francisco Bay and the Delta to monitor for fish entrainment with particular emphasis on endangered or threatened species, including delta smelt and longfin smelt. Sampling methods and permitting for these species require specialized qualifications and procedures that AMS staff and collaborators have developed over years of project implementation. This monitoring is typically conducted on a 24-7 basis.
AMS has also been supporting the USACE in monitoring impacts to water quality associated with dredging operations. The focus of this monitoring is related to the existing mercury Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) project and requires specialized experience with non-contaminating sampling techniques.
AMS has supported USACE and its dredging contractors through design and implementation of a few related investigations since 2015. Our fisheries monitoring projects have had AMS staff monitoring efforts conducted from the hopper dredger vessel Essayons, from within several Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta waterways, and at various associated DMPS locations. Water quality monitoring efforts have included both permit compliance monitoring efforts and design and implementation of a number of special studies that investigated such issues as optimizing timing of releases from DMPS’ and assessing a variety of best management practices (BMPs) at DMPS’ to minimize methylation rates within those facilities.
Paul Salop serves as AMS’ project manager for USACE monitoring. He is a water quality expert with over 25 years of experience supporting a wide variety of private, non-profit, academic, and regulatory and resource management agencies.