Cofferdam Construction

Cofferdams may be installed both upstream and downstream, and along portions of the cross section of a channel or other waterway, if necessary to isolate the extent of the work areas. Construction of cofferdams will begin in the upstream area and continue in a downstream direction, enabling water to drain and allowing fish and aquatic wildlife species to leave (under their own volition) the area being isolated by the cofferdam, prior to closure. The flow will then be diverted only when construction of the upstream dam (if necessary) is completed and the work area has been naturally drained of flow; at this point, the downstream dam (if necessary) would be completed, and flow would be diverted around the work area. Cofferdams and stream diversion systems will remain in place and fully functional throughout the construction period. To minimize adverse effects to Covered Species, stream diversions will be limited to the shortest duration necessary to complete in-water work. In-water cofferdams will only be built from materials such as sandbags, clean gravel, rubber bladders, vinyl, steel, or earthen fill, and will be built in a manner that minimizes siltation and/or turbidity. Cofferdams will be pushed into place. If pile driving (sheet piles) is required, vibratory hammers will be used, and impact hammers will be avoided. If necessary, the footing of the cofferdam will be keyed into the channel bed at an appropriate depth to capture the majority of subsurface flow needed to dewater the streambed. When cofferdams with bypass pipes are installed, debris racks will be placed at the bypass pipe inlet in a manner that minimizes the potential for fish impingement and/or entrapment. Bypass pipes will be monitored for accumulation of debris, and accumulated debris will be removed. When appropriate, cofferdams will be removed so that surface elevations of water impounded above the cofferdam will not be reduced at a rate greater than 1 inch per hour. Cofferdams in tidal waters will be removed during the lowest possible tide and in slack water to minimize disturbance and turbidity. This will minimize the probability of fish and other aquatic species stranding as the area upstream becomes dewatered. All dewatering/diversion facilities will be 74 installed so that natural flow is maintained upstream and downstream of project areas. An area may need to be dewatered long enough to allow Covered Species to leave on their own before final clearance surveys and construction can begin.