Environmental Protection a Top Priority at Quonset

Quonset Development Corporation (QDC) recently took extraordinary measures to protect the marine environment in advance of a project to remove undersea rock from Narragansett Bay. 

The effort was part of a project to create a deeper channel to allow General Dynamics/Electric Boat Division (EB) to expand their submarine manufacturing operations and provide for the transfer of the modules between Quonset and EB’s Groton facility.

The expanded manufacturing operations will lead to the hiring of thousands more Rhode Island workers.

 “Quonset Business Park is located directly on Narragansett Bay, and the QDC makes environmental concerns a top priority whenever any marine infrastructure project is undertaken,” said Steven J. King, P.E., QDC’s Managing Director. 

“We retained nationally recognized experts in their field for the protection of the aquatic environment and the identification of mitigation measures relating to the protection of essential fish habitat, endangered species and marine mammals”.

The work was completed on January 13 without any observed impact to marine mammals. Mr. King said that QDC and its contractors “used every known monitoring technique to protect marine mammals”. 

These included visual monitoring for the presence of marine mammals by a qualified marine mammal observer; passive acoustic monitoring; hydroacoustic side-scan sonar and a fish “startle” system.

The project, which required blasting, resulted in the removal of about 6,000 cubic yards of rock over an area of 30,000 square feet.

“The numerous steps QDC took to make this project safe reflects our commitment to the marine environment and the protection of marine mammals,” King added. “The success of this effort demonstrates that responsible development can occur when environmental concerns are properly identified and adequately addressed.”