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    District team tours Gould Island Restoration Project

    District team tours Gould Island Restoration Project

    Courtesy Photo | A RAB member inspects a former structure on the south end of Gould Island, August 15,...... read more read more



    Story by AnnMarie Harvie 

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

    Members of the New England District team traveled to Jamestown, Rhode Island, Aug. 15, to meet invited guests for a short boat ride to tour Gould Island. The District team has been tasked with performing investigations and studies in support of the environmental restoration of a portion of the island that was once used by the U.S. Navy. About 35 people participated in the tour. Guests included members of the South Gould Island Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), federal, state and local officials as well as members of the local media.

    The Community Co-chair of the South Gould Island (RAB) requested the District’s support in conducting the tour to provide invited guests a better understanding of the current environment and physical conditions of the island, according to New England District Project Manager Tony Silva.

    “The project is an environmental restoration project that is being consulted by the Corps of Engineers under the Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS) component of the Department of Defense’s Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP),” said Silva. “A key aspect of the tour was to identify areas of the island currently under evaluation as part of the ongoing Corps-led environmental restoration program, structures/physical hazards currently eligible for removal under the Corps’ Building Demolition and Debris Removal (BD/DR) program and structures/physical hazards that are not eligible for removal under the Corps’ congressionally mandated authority.”

    Silva said the scope of work would include a background file review, remedial investigation (RI), and field activities that are currently in progress. “Work will include developing an RI report that presents the findings of the investigation and evaluates risk levels,” said Silva. “There will also be a feasibility study report identifying potential environmental remedies, a proposed plan identifying the selected remedy and a decision document formalizing the proposed solution, all with an objective of achieving site closure under the FUDS program.”

    This southern portion of Gould Island is a Formerly Used Defense Site (FUDS), which was used by the U.S. Navy from 1920 to 1973. The authority to conduct a FUDS investigation comes from the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP), a congressionally directed program that emphasizes the identification, investigation and cleanup of hazardous and toxic waste; unexploded ordnance; buildings and other structures and debris at current and former military facilities.
    “Gould Island was purchased by the government in 1918 to serve primarily as a naval torpedo testing facility. The southern two-thirds of the island that comprises the FUDS site has housed numerous facilities and structures that supported these operations including seaplane ramps and aircraft hangars, a torpedo assembly building, warhead/materials storage bunkers, a boiler house, incinerator, maintenance facility, firehouse, and associated infrastructure to support operations,” said Silva. “This southern portion of the island was transferred from the U.S. Navy to the state of Rhode Island after 1973 and is currently used as a bird sanctuary.”

    Of the approximately 56 acres which comprise Gould Island, the U.S. Navy’s Naval Education and Training Center (NETC) still has jurisdiction over the 16.6 acres of land on the north end of the island. This portion of the island will not be investigated and is not eligible for investigation under the DERP/FUDS program.

    The Navy excessed approximately 39 acres of Gould Island to the General Services Administration (GSA) in 1972. Of these 39 acres, approximately 16.9 acres were transferred to the Department of Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation. That land was then transferred to the state of Rhode Island in 1975. In 1989, the GSA conveyed the remaining land, 22.25 acres to the state of Rhode Island. The 39.15 acres of property currently owned by the state of Rhode Island is managed by their Fish and Wildlife Department as a wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary. The island is heavily overgrown by trees and brush.

    “We will be working to investigate this former naval facility on Gould Island with minimal disruption toward the local habitat,” said Silva. “Due to the potential impacts the project may have on this community, we have established a Restoration Advisory Board for this project. This board will serve as a point of contact between the community and the Corps of Engineers, allowing us to identify and address community concerns and needs as they arise.”

    Members of the New England District team who accompanied Silva on the tour were Gary Morin, FUDS program manager and Beth Gosselin, the New England District’s Chief of Public Affairs.



    Date Taken: 08.15.2019
    Date Posted: 09.10.2019 11:15
    Story ID: 339248
    Location: GOULD ISLAND, RI, US

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