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

Federal Navigation Channel Maintenance and Stewardship

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District
Published Feb. 1, 2024

DESCRIPTION: This navigation asset is within a tidal strait about 16 miles long, 600 to 4,000 feet wide, connecting the Hudson River and the Battery, New York City, with Long Island Sound at Throgs Neck, NY; and provides for a main channel, 40 feet deep, 1,000 feet wide, from Upper New York Bay to the former Brooklyn Navy Yard, and thence 35 feet deep, 550 to 1,000 feet 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 feet deep, 500 to 900 feet wide, with widening in the approach from the main channel;  a channel between South Brother and Berrian Islands, 20 feet deep, 300 feet wide, with widening in the approach from the main channel;  South Brother Island Channel, 35 feet deep and 400 feet 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 feet, with a length of about 1 mile.        

AUTHORIZATION: Rivers and Harbors Act of 1915 (P.L. 63-291), modified in 1916 (P.L. 64-168) and 1970 (P.L. 91-611).

COMMERCE:  In 2021, the annual commercial freight traffic reported for this this navigation asset was approximately 20.5 million tons, compared to a five-year (2017-2021) annual average of approximately 23.7 million tons, and consisted primarily of chemicals, crude materials (e.g. sand & gravel), petroleum & petroleum products, and primary manufactured goods (e.g. cement & concrete).  This navigation asset specifically supports waterborne fuel transportation to Sprague Energy’s Bronx, NY Fuel Terminal, waterborne cement deliveries to McInnis Cement’s Bronx, NY Terminal, and fuel shipments to regional markets in Long Island Sound.  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 via the South Brother Island Channel.  Along the East River shoreline, there are also four major New York City water pollution control plant terminals, and year-round public transport ferry landings.

BACKGROUND: The latest maintenance dredging, within the South Brother Island Channel Reach, began in November 2023 (with ongoing dredging work as of December 2023), under a contract awarded towards the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2023.  Previously, this asset was last maintenance dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in FY2017, when approximately 340,000 cubic yards (CY) of dredge material was removed from the same reach and beneficially used at the Historic Area Remediation Site (HARS). Prior to that, this same reach of the East River was maintenance dredged in FY2011, when approximately 225,000 CY of dredged material was also placed at the HARS. 

STATUS: In FY2024, commonly performed Operations & Maintenance (O&M) work includes completion of the latest maintenance dredging and closeout of that FY2023 dredging contract. Production of an annual hydrographic channel condition survey, and publication of a controlling depth report on the District’s website (https://www.nan.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation/Controlling-Depth-Reports/) is also scheduled for FY2024.   


Divyesh Patel
Asset / Project Manager
P: (917) 790-8582
Email:  divyesh.g.patel@usace.army.mil
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