Wiggins Pass Interim Channel dredging operations are scheduled to start next week.
The dredging will be done from a barge due to sea turtle nesting season. The dredged beach quality shoaled sand will be removed from three shallow spots in the channel and placed in the water near Barefoot Beach Preserve in the flood shoal disposal area to help stabilize the mangroves.
A slower, more natural build up of the north side ebb shoal should reduce future interim dredging requirements.
The Board of County Commissioners approved the dredging back in April with the contract being awarded to Quality Enterprises. The project is expected to be completed in approximately three-to-four weeks after commencing, weather permitting.
In spring 2013, Wiggins Pass underwent maintenance dredging that straightened and removed 107,370 cubic yards of material from the pass. That dredging event was the first step in implementing a management plan that would provide a safe channel for boating; address erosion at Barefoot Beach Park; lengthen the dredge cycle while minimizing effects to the environment and provide a solution that is economically effective.
The Wiggins Pass Management Plan always anticipated lengthening the major dredge cycle to four years with a smaller interim dredge anticipated every two years. This interim dredging event, which has been programmed as a two year “cleanup” dredge, is limited in scope and will only address hot spot areas where sand has accumulated within the channel.