Navigation maintenance dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway (IWW) Indian River Reach 1 in the Indian River Lagoon will start in early January, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District.
The dredging area begins a half-mile north of the Indian River County line and extends south for approximately eight miles to the Wabasso Causeway. In addition to improving navigation safety, the dredging will also provide significant environmental benefits by removing muck from the federal navigation channel.
USACE awarded the $6.05 million maintenance dredging contract for the Indian River Reach 1 in September to Cavache, Inc., of Pompano Beach, Fla. The contract is funded in partnership with the Florida Inland Navigation District.
Currently averaging a depth of 9 to 10 feet, the maintenance dredging will remove approximately 300,000 cubic yards of material from the federal channel. The work will return the channel to its federally-authorized depth of 12 feet and provide for safer navigation along the waterway.
The dredging will also remove muck from the channel, which is an added bonus for the environment, said Corps project manager Brandon Burch. Muck is a combination of fine sand and decayed organic material that, when stirred by storms or boat wakes, clouds the water and reduces sunlight penetration that is vital to the health of the aquatic environment.
Cavache will place the dredged material in the Dredge Material Management Area IR2, located between U.S. Highway 1 and the IWW near Sebastian in Indian River County. The material has been tested and provides no health risk, but the fine silt material is regrettably not suitable for beach placement.
The Corps has asked the public to use caution in the channel during dredging operations and for local residents to be patient with the temporary construction noise as the project progresses.