At a time when the economy has gone to “muck,” the Dredging industry is thriving, in large part due to a significant number of government contracts assigned to maintain the country’s waterways and lakes. And one local company is benefiting from the abundance of work: Cavache, a South Florida based dredging contractor experienced in hydraulic and mechanical dredging, land clearing and site development, has been awarded a $9 million Army Corps of Engineers dredging project, representing 125% growth in projected business from 2010-2011, and 800% growth from 2009 revenues. This contract is Cavache’s largest public contract to date.
Two projects make up the bulk of the company’s current portfolio and represent a seismic shift for Cavache from private sector jobs to public works projects. The $1 billion Kissimmee River Restoration Project, an Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District partnership, is restoring more than 40 square miles of the river’s floodplain ecosystem, including 40 miles of meandering river channel and 27,000 acres of wetlands. As subcontractor for the dredging portion of the C-37 Canal, Cavache is conducting excavations that will widen the bottom of the C-37 canal from 70 feet to 90 feet wide. The purpose is to maintain the existing level of flood damage reduction for the Headwaters Chain of Lakes. The C-37 was funded entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Cavache’s 12-month assignment is scheduled to begin in December; the company has already begun mobilizing approximately $4 million worth of equipment for the job.
Equally notable for its environmental impact, the cleanup of muck-clogged Lake Trafford located southeast of Fort Myers, encompasses the third and final phase of a decades-long effort to rid the 1600-acre recreational lake of a layer of composted vegetation that sank to the bottom after the application of an herbicide. Eight feet thick in certain areas, the herbicide caused a massive fish kill in 1996. Cavache is performing the dredging of 2.09 million cubic yards of material from a 1,156-acre portion of the lake. The entire project is near its final phases and will be complete by January 2011.
Dredging of Lake Trafford appears to have had a positive impact thus far, according to Ralph Laprairie, Fisheries biologist for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which released 200,000 largemouth bass fingerlings in May and June of this year. Recent scientific samplings performed by FWC indicated that the majority of the bass survived.
Cavache was selected from many other dredging contractors for their unique skill set and capabilities with this type of dredging work. To accommodate the needs of this project, Cavache fabricated a unique suction head for its dredge in order to maximize the excavation of muck while leaving the majority of sand in place.
In fact, all Cavache dredges are specially fabricated for each project commission and are equipped with GPS Systems, computers and Dredge Pack software. Cavache also recently purchased a brand new $2 million Ellicott 1170 16-inch dredge, explicitly for use in the Kissimmee project.
“The monies from the Bush and Obama Administrations have benefited the industry greatly in a time when they have failed so many,” noted Anthony Cavo, a principal of Cavache, who founded the company with his childhood friend, Adam Adache. “However it is our ability to adapt and bid attractively that have enabled us to win projects of this size, scope and distinction. There are few Florida firms that have our resources and knowledge and, in any economy, that is what ensures a company’s vitality.”
A venerable force in the industry as one of only a handful of Florida companies qualified to do complex public dredging projects, Cavache, Inc. performs both hydraulic and mechanical dredging services in lakes, ports, rivers, canals, inlets and other navigable waterways. In the past two years, the company has positioned itself as a leading contender in government dredging projects, following years of success in the private sector working on large commercial and residential development projects.