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FACT SHEET-Buttermilk Channel, New York

Federal Navigation Channel Maintenance of Infrastructure and Stewardship

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published March 5, 2021

AUTHORIZATION: Rivers and Harbors Act of 1902 (P.L. 57-154), modified in 1935 (P.L. 74-409) and 1962 (P.L. 87-874).

DESCRIPTION: This navigation asset connects deep water in Upper Bay, New York Harbor, southwest of Governors Island, with deep water in the East River northeast of Governors Island, and, with Bay Ridge and Red Hook Channels, forms a channel along the Brooklyn waterfront; and provides for a channel 1,000 feet wide, 40 feet deep, and 500 feet wide along the easterly side, and 35 feet deep, 500 feet wide along the westerly side with suitable widening at the junctions with the East River and Anchorage to a depth of 35 feet, and with Red Hook Channel to a depth of 40 feet  Additional widening to provide a minimum clear channel width of 2,100 feet to a depth of 35 feet at the junction with Anchorage and Red Hook Channels.

COMMERCE: As of 2017, the annual commercial tonnage transported through this deep-draft high-use navigation asset was approximately 23.1 million tons, compared to a five-year (2013-2017) annual average of approximately 22.9 million tons, and supports one major import/export terminal (chemicals, food & farm products, manufactured equipment & machinery, petroleum & petroleum products, primary manufactured goods, and sand & gravel).  This asset also supports an international cruise terminal (a $52 million investment, 300,000 passengers annually, 330 new jobs created), and year-round public transport ferry landings.

BACKGROUND: This asset was last maintenance dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, when approximately 81,000 cubic yards (CY) of maintenance dredged material was removed and beneficially used at an approved upland site in New Jersey.  Prior to that, the channel was maintenance dredged in FY2011, when approximately 91,000 CY of dredged material was removed with upland placement in New Jersey. Prior to that, the channel was maintenance dredged in FY2005, when approximately 58,000 CY of maintenance dredged material was removed and beneficially used at the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS).

STATUS: In FY2021, funds are being used for commonly performed Operations & Maintenance (O&M) work, including preliminary engineering & design; in preparation for out-year maintenance dredging, subject to availability of funds. Production of an annual hydrographic channel condition survey, and publication of a controlling depth report on the District’s website ( is also scheduled for FY2021.  


Alexander F. Gregory
Asset / Project Manager
P: (917) 790-8427
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278

District Area: NY # 7, # 10