Vortex Marine Construction Inc., of Oakland, California, will begin a $3.1-million maintenance dredging project of the Big Thorofare and Twitch Cove federal channels in early 2018, reports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District.
“These two channels go through the heart of Smith Island and are necessary for the population to travel and receive goods,” said Danielle Szimanski, Baltimore District Operations Division.
Approximately 80,000 cubic yards of material will be removed from the 60-foot-wide channels in order to provide the authorized depth of 7 feet mean lower low water with two feet of overdepth.
Dredging is anticipated to wrap up in late spring 2018.
Material dredged from the project will be beneficially reused to restore habitat at Swan Island, which is part of the Martin National Wildlife Refuge on Smith Island. The intent is for the material to restore dune habitat and to create high and low marsh habitats; act as a buffer for restored habitat from wind and waves; and provide a natural breakwater for the Town of Ewell.