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Camp Ellis Section 111

Camp Ellis - 1908 parcel overlay (002)

The City of Saco, elected officials, and concerned citizens from across the community have worked for decades to resolve the challenges created by the Army Corps of Engineers’ structure known as the Camp Ellis Jetty.  In early summer 2017, an updated report by the regional office of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) was presented to the City with a price tag of $67 million dollars.  This revised amount, well above the $26.9 million previously allotted from prior Congressional efforts, would not be accepted by the Head Quarters of the ACOE as it exceeds what Congress had originally authorized. Since that time, the City has worked closely with our federal delegates to apply pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers and in July of 2018, the regional ACOE office shared a revised project that meets the authorized amount.

The City hosted a meeting on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 6:00 PM for residents and elected officials to learn about where this project stands and possible next steps are. View the presentation here

The ACOE executive summary report from July 2018, would construct a 750 foot jetty spur with reinforcement to sections of the main north jetty, and beach fill of about 225,000 cubic yards of sand and most importantly recommends the additional  beach renourishments but does not require them. This allows the project to meet the authorized funding of $26.9 million. The draft final executive summary mentioned 4 specific requirements of Saco that would be included in a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) and were responded to in a letter of quasi support (which advocated for alternative 25 A over the ACOE suggested alternative/plan 6) dated September 14, 2018. The city still has concerns with the legal risks associated with the proposed solution and expressed those concerns in a letter to the ACOE in September 2018

This letter was further supported with a resolution from Council on September 17th, 2018: “Be it Resolved that the City will seek to find a resolution to the damage being caused by the federal navigation structure at Camp Ellis and that the City will not incur responsibility for the federal navigation structure nor the effort undertaken by the federal government to remedy this disaster.” This was further supported with funding of $25,000 to begin the research work that would be necessary before a PPA were to be signed.

On January 16, 2019, members of the Saco Bay Erosion Working Group met with Colonel Conde, Commander of the New England Division (NED) of the Army Corps of Engineers and his staff as well as representatives from Senator King, Senator Collins, and Congresswoman Pingree’s offices.  In that meeting, Colonel Conde further explained how the PPA would NOT require further work by the municipality to maintain the jetty or nourish the beach and instead the PPA would recommend this work be done. Colonel Conde also left us with two options: 1) move forward with a stronger letter of support than what was provided in September and begin the process of developing a PPA, or; 2) shelve the project for at least another year and we focus on answering several outstanding questions. 

The Saco Bay Erosion Working Group hosted a community meeting on February 5, 2019 to discuss the different options moving forward. You can view the City Administrator's Power Point presentation here

On February 11, 2019, the City Council met during workshop to discuss the ACOE's request for a stronger letter of support. Options were explored for the next few months in preparation for the April 1, 2019 City Council meeting. There were two motions as part of the report from an Executive Session discussion at the April 1, 2019 City Council meeting. The first  authorizes the City Administrator to send a revised letter to the ACOE regarding the Saco River & Camp Ellis Beach Shore Damage Mitigation Project.  The second motion authorized Mayor Marston Lovell to communicate with the neighboring Councils to request support from all Saco Bay communities to facilitate leverage with the State of Maine with the ACOE.  You can view the minutes from that meeting here

The City Administrator sent a revised letter to the ACOE on April 2, 2019. You can view the letter here

The ACOE sent a response on April 12, 2019. You can view that letter here. In this letter, the ACOE stated "The USACE does not view your April 2, 2019 letter as supporting the recommendation of the report. In order for the project to proceed further, the City must agree to either proceed with the Federally lmplementable Plan as described in the draft final report, or to fund any costs above $26.9 million for an alternative plan. Until then the USACE must suspend further involvement in this project".  Since the city continues to advocate for an alternative plan, the ACOE has shelved the project at this time.  City staff, elected officials, and community members continue to explore all options and work toward a resolution. 

Previous Community Meetings
A Camp Ellis Community Meeting and Saco River Dredge update was held at Saco City Hall on June 15, 2017. View the presentation here

City Administration hosted a community meeting on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 to bring residents up to date on the Army Corp of Engineers Feasibility Study or District Quality Control (DQC) report.  The presentation walked through the basics of the proposed Section 111 Shore Damage Mitigation project.

Section 111 Shore Damage Mitigation project (2016)
The project is currently under Agency Technical Review (ATR), and upon completion, the DQC will be sent to ACOE Headquarters (December timeframe).  Once the report is sent to headquarters, the City of Saco will start its campaign for approval.  This will involve residents sending letters to our federal representatives and the ACOE District office.  

For Additional Information and Environmental Assessments on Camp Ellis, visit the Saco River and Camp Ellis Document Archives

Draft Feasibility Study and Environmental Assessment (2013)
This examines alternatives to prevent and mitigate for erosion along Camp Ellis Beach resulting from the Saco River Federal navigation project.
Main Report
Environmental Assessment
Appendix A: Correspondence
Appendix B: Coastal Engineering
Appendix C: WHG Model
Appendix D: Geotechnical
Appendix E: Design Cost
Appendix F: Economics
Appendix G: Real Estate
Appendix H: Archaeology
Appendix I: History

Saco River and Camp Ellis Shoreline Damage Mitigation, January 23, 2013 PDF, 11MB

A Fiscal Impact Analysis of the Saco River & Camp Ellis Beach Shore Damage Mitigation Project PDF, 4.7MB

Saco River and Camp Ellis Beach Section 111 Project
Final Draft Report PDF, 18.9MB
Appendix A-3 PDF, 3.9MB
Appendix A-6 PDF, 1.6MB
Appendix A-8 PDF, 8.7MB
Appendix A-9 PDF, 1MB
Appendix A-11 PDF, 2.2MB
Appendix A-13 PDF, 800KB
Appendix B-6 PDF, 1MB
Appendix B-9 PDF, 2MB
Appendix B-3-2 PDF, 72KB
Appendix B-3-1 PDF, 92KB
Appendix B-11 PDF, 3MB
Appendix B-13 PDF, 1MB
Appendix C-11 PDF, 156KB
Appendix C-13 PDF, 444KB

Other Related Files

January 2020 Letter from Colonel Conde, Army Corps of Engineers
Final Draft Report: Saco River and Camp Ellis Beach Section 111 Project
 (PDF file, 13.1MB)
Saco Bay Regional Beach Management Plan, 2000
 PDF, 6.8MB
Past shoreline positions PDF, 520KB
Project Cooperation Agreement PDF, 912KB
River Committee Interlocal Agreement PDF, 348KB
Saco River and Camp Ellis Beach Shore Mitigation Project (PDF file, 2.9MB)
A presentation of the findings of the Saco River & Camp Ellis Beach Shore Damage Mitigation Project to the Saco Bay Implementation Team on February 22, 2006 by COL Curtis L. Thalken, Commander and District Engineer, US Army corps of Engineers, New England District. View the presentation.
Presentation by Peter Slovinsky, Maine Geological Survey, given at the January 2020 Shoreline Commission meeting, explaining how the dredged sand is supplementing Camp Ellis and Ferry Beach. View the presentation.