The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Jacksonville District will begin operations and maintenance dredging of the Kings Bay Entrance Channel and sections of the inner channel this month.
USACE awarded a $15.5 million contract in September to the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC, to execute the project. Funding is provided entirely by the Navy, with no cost to the City Fernandina Beach. Great Lakes plans to begin equipment mobilization during the second week of December, which will include staging of piping on the beaches. Dredging operations will commence early January 2020.
"This project is vital for ensuring mission critical navigation for Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, the East coast home to the Ohio Class submarines,"said Project Manager Beau Corbett.
The project will include the beneficial placement of an estimated 300,000 cubic yards of beach compatible sand on northern portions of Fernandina Beach. The Corps estimates the contractor will also disperse some 900,000 cubic yards of non-beach compatible sand in both an approved near-shore disposal area and an offshore disposal site. The planned beach fill area will extend from the Fort Clinch Area Boundary (1700 North Fletcher) to Main Beach. The Dolphin Avenue parking lot will serve as a staging area, with safety fencing provided as required, throughout the period of operations.
“Safety is paramount when you’re moving equipment on the beach,” said Fernandina Beach Vice Mayor Len Kreger. Public entry to the beach will be provided at all public access points for the duration of the project.
The contract calls for hopper dredging operations to be completed by March 31, 2020, and the entire project, including equipment demobilization and any site restoration work that may be necessary, by April 19, 2020. The contract includes stringent requirements for the protection of shorebirds, dolphins, right whales, sturgeon and nesting sea turtles. Contractor crews will include endangered species observers to ensure vulnerable creatures are not negatively impacted by the dredging and disposal operations and equipment.
Project updates and progress maps will be available on the Jacksonville District’s website at www.saj.usace.army.mil and on its social media pages – facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict and twitter.com/JaxStrong.
For more information on the USACE Jacksonville District, visit our website at www.saj.usace.army.mil.