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FACT SHEET-East River South Brother Island Channel, New York

Federal Navigation Channel Maintenance and Stewardship

Published Feb. 1, 2018

AUTHORIZATION:  Rivers and Harbors Act of 1915, modified 1916 and 1970. 


DESCRIPTION:   A main channel, 40 ft. deep, 1,000 ft. wide, from Upper New York Bay to the former Brooklyn Navy Yard, and thence 35 ft. deep, 550 to 1,000 ft. wide to Throgs Neck, with a total length of about 16 miles;  a channel, east of Roosevelt Island, from the main channel to English Place, Long Island City, 30 ft. deep, 500 to 900 ft. wide, with widening in the approach from the main channel;  a channel between South Brother and Berrian Islands, 20 ft. deep, 300 ft. wide, with widening in the approach from the main channel;  South Brother Island Channel, 35 ft. deep and 400 ft. wide, with widening at the junction with the main channel and a turning basin at the head of the channel, and the removal of Coenties Reef to 40 ft., with a length of about 1 mile.        


COMMERCE:  In 2016, approximately 24.5 million short tons of freight traffic was transported through this navigation channel asset, compared to a five-year (2012-2016) annual average of approximately 23.3 million short tons; annual freight traffic for 2016 consisted primarily of various petroleum products, chemicals, sand & gravel, iron & steel scrap, and cement & concrete.  Two terminal facilities (i.e. Con Edison Electric Generating Plant and the 1,090 MW Astoria Generating Station) receive fuel by vessel for plant consumption; risk of oil spills if channels not maintained; delays in dredging could affect safe delivery of petroleum products, or result in users having to travel light-loaded or wait for higher tides.  Terminal facilities also include a major New York City wastewater treatment plant.  Along the East River shoreline, there are numerous ferry landings for public transit.    


BACKGROUND:  This deep-draft high-use asset was last dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the beginning of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017, when approximately 340,000 cubic yards (CYs) of maintenance dredge material was removed from the South Brother Island Channel and beneficially used at the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS).  Prior to that, the South Brother Island Channel was dredged in FY2011, when approximately 225,000 CYs of maintenance dredged material was also placed at the HARS. 


STATUS:  This navigation asset is currently in the preliminary engineering and design phase, which means initiation of plans & specificationsProduction of an annual hydrographic survey of the South Brother Island Channel, and publication of a controlling depth report on the District’s website, is also scheduled for FY2018. 


CONTACT:    Alexander F. Gregory, Project Manager, (917) 790-8427


                        U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District

                       26 Federal Plaza

                       New York, NY 10278  

                       District Area:  NY #’s 3, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15




Release no.