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Channel Maintenance Dredging, Sand Bypass and Beach Renourishmnet Project Update #1

pipe discharging water and sand into dike with backhoe on beach
Crews working on the beach in early March as part of Phase I of the project.

As of today, Ferreira’s operations have advanced 2,000 feet South of McLarty Treasure Museum and crews have placed 50,000 cubic yards of sand on downdrift beaches South of Sebastian Inlet.  Crews will continue to work their way South past the Ampersand Beach access area, ultimately placing 120,000 cubic yards of sand along a one and a half mile stretch of beach identified by R-markers (R10-R17).  Beach operations are expected to continue through the end of March and this sand bypass is mandated by the State’s Beach Management Act.

The dredge “Lori Hill” is currently positioned over the inlet’s Sand Trap – a 42-acre depression that fills with sand located between the Flood Shoal on the West side of the inlet and the inlet throat.  Dredge operations are 24/7.  To see our notice to boaters including contact information for dredge “Lori Hill”, click here.

As of March 1, sea turtle monitoring protocol begins and will be conducted by biologists from Ecological Associates, Inc. (EAI).  EAI will conduct daily nesting surveys at first light to clear beach crews to work and any nighttime work will be confined to a 500-foot work zone unless otherwise cleared by EAI’s biologists.  Post-project, scientists will monitor the beaches for the entire 2019 nesting season to ensure no impacts, including escarpments or changes in the profile of the beaches after grading. No Sebastian Inlet District projects have ever had a negative identified impact on sea turtle nesting on area beaches.

Immediately after project completion, marine biologists with CSA Ocean Sciences who conducted a comprehensive, pre-project nearshore hardbottom survey this summer will go into to conduct a post-project survey to ensure no sand has migrated to cover the important nearshore hardbottom habitat South of the inlet.  The last ten years of environmental monitoring show no impacts from Sebastian Inlet District projects.

“The Commission is committed to preserving natural resources and protecting important habitats and wildlife around the inlet,” said James Gray, Sebastian Inlet District Executive Director.  “The District and its contractors work closely with biologists, officials and regulatory agencies to conduct important environmental monitoring that takes place pre-, during and post-project.  A conference call to review sea turtle monitoring protocol took place last week to mobilize all parties for March 1.”

Once beach operations are completed, Ferreira will begin dredging the 150-foot wide channel that connects Sebastian Inlet to the Intracoastal Waterway, stockpiling an additional 30,000 cubic yards of sand in the Sebastian Inlet District’s Dredged Material Management Area (DMMA) for future emergency beach fill and dune repair.  The 6-acre DMMA is located immediately Northwest of the Tidal Pool within Sebastian Inlet State Park and can be easily assessed if beaches are negatively impacted by hurricanes or other natural events.  This phase of the project will be completed by the end of May.

For additional detail, read more on the PROJECTS tab or call (321) 724-5175.

The Sebastian Inlet District was created in 1919 as an independent special district by act of the Florida State Legislature, and chartered to maintain the navigational channel between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River.  The Sebastian Inlet District is governed by a 5-member, elected Commission and its responsibilities include beach re-nourishment and dune repair as part of a state mandated sand bypass system, erosion control, environmental protection and public safety.  The Sebastian Inlet supports a rich and diverse ecological environment that is unparalleled in North America.  The Inlet is vital not only to the ecological health of the Indian River Lagoon, but it is also an important economic engine for local communities in the region.  Known as the premier surfing, fishing, boating and recreational area on the east coast of Florida, the inlet is one of only five navigable channels that connect the Indian River lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean.

Posted: 2/26/2019