JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA --
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has published an Environmental Assessment (EA) for public review and comment in regard to proposed maintenance dredging of the federally authorized Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW) channel, settling basins and advance maintenance areas (AMA) in the waters of Sawpit Creek, the Amelia River and Nassau Sound.
The purpose of the project is to restore the channel depth of the AIWW in the vicinity of Sawpit Creek to ensure safe and efficient navigation throughout the federal navigation project. The present accumulation of sediment, commonly referred to as shoaling, has reduced the navigable depth of the project channel. Its removal will improve watercraft access and navigation safety, facilitate expansion of recreation and tourism, and strengthen the economy of the community and region by maintaining the navigable capacity of the project channel.
Approximately 415,000 cubic yards of material will be excavated from the AIWW between mile 717 and mile 738.9 to restore the federal channel’s authorized depth of 12 feet mean low water, with two feet of allowable over depth, for a length of approximately 21.9 miles. Dredging will likely be accomplished by mechanical (clamshell or bucket) or hydraulic (pipeline with cutterhead) dredge.
Additionally, the EA assesses opportunities for the beneficial use of the dredged material. Shoals and barrier islands in Nassau Sound which have experienced considerable erosion are being considered for beneficial placement of dredged material. Beneficial use of the dredged material can restore beach-nesting bird habitat that has been lost in recent decades due to erosion and sea level rise, and prevent further loss of natural resources.
The Jacksonville District strongly encourages public review and comment on the EA within the 30-day period ending Nov. 4, 2022. The EA and related documents are available on the district’s website at https://www.saj.usace.army.mil/About/Divisions-Offices/Planning/Environmental-Branch/Environmental-Documents/.
On that page, scroll down to ‘Multiple Counties’ and click on the [+] to open another page. Then scroll down the list to find ‘Maintenance Dredging of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Sawpit Creek, Nassau and Duval Counties, Florida’ and its supporting documents.
Please submit comments and questions via email to Kathryn.E.Lebow@usace.army.mil. They may also be sent by post to the address below; however, due to limited on-site staff availability in response to coronavirus, email is highly preferred.
Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
Planning and Policy Division, Environmental Branch
Attn: Ms. Kathryn Lebow
701 San Marco Boulevard
Jacksonville, Florida 32207-8175
Public comments must be received by Nov. 4, 2022, for consideration.