Dredging underway at Kings Bay entrance channel

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District has begun scheduled maintenance dredging of the U.S. Naval Station Kings Bay entrance channel.

The project, worth around $15.8 million, was awarded to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC, of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., on Nov. 23, 2020.

The Corps issued the firm a notice to proceed Dec. 9. The City of Fernandina Beach in the non-federal sponsor of the project.

The maintenance dredging is projected to remove more than 1,190,000 cubic yards of sediment from the channel, to be distributed among two offshore and two onshore sites.

Approximately 826,000 cubic yards of dredged material will be deposited in the Fernandina Ocean Dredged Material Disposal Site, and 110,000 cubic yards in the Fernandina Nearshore Disposal Area. Approximately 114,000 cubic yards of beach compatible material will be placed onshore at the Fort Clinch Disposal Area (Fort Clinch Park) and 145,000 cubic yards at the North Beach Disposal Area (Fernandina Beach).

The placement area on Fernandina Beach will start a Florida Department of Environmental Protection Monument R-15 (Giselle Street) and move southward to R-22 (Main Beach Park).

According to the Corps, the beach will remain open to residents and visitors outside the work areas. The contractor expects to close about 1,000 feet of the beach at a time during the re-nourishment project. Outside of the active fill area, public access over the dredging pipes will occur every 200 to 400 feet. Swimmers and surfers are strongly encouraged to avoid the construction area to avoid injury.

USACE urges the public to exercise caution around construction areas and to be patient with temporary construction noise as the project progresses.

Beach placement operations are planned to be complete by March 15 at Fort Clinch and by April 15 at Fernandina Beach to meet regulatory requirements for the seasonal protection of sea turtle nesting sites.

Photo: USACE