Monday, November 14, 2011

Dredging Today – USA: Perdido Key Renourishment About to Begin

Dredging Today – USA: Perdido Key Renourishment About to Begin: Gulf Islands National Seashore and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are expected to begin a sand-renourishment project on the south shore of Perdido Key next week.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of December.
Seashore Superintendent Dan Brown said the purpose of the project is to:
- Restore beach that has been lost to erosion through storm action and active shoreline processes.
- Relocate sand deposited within the Pensacola Pass navigational channel.
- Restore the sand that erodes from the island, which is vital to barrier island function and longevity.
The renourishment project with sand taken from the Pensacola Pass channel will be placed along a two-mile segment of shoreline near the eastern end of Perdido Key, park officials said.
The sand is expected to be similar to the existing island sand in grain size, texture and color. In time, the sand placed in what’s called the swash zone –- the near-shore area and up to an elevation of approximately 3 feet near of the sand berm — on the beach will be indistinguishable from the sand already there.
The public may notice unusual concentrations of sea birds that will flock around the work site because the sand slurry discharged from the dredge pipes will include aquatic organisms. The initial discharge will appear grayish or blackish until the finer materials settle out into the water column leaving behind the white sand for which the area is known.
The operation will involve dredges that will remove sand from the borrow area and pump it onto shore through 30-inch pipes. The pipes will place slurry of sand and water on the beach where bulldozers and other construction equipment will be used to place the sand.
Operations will be conducted 24 hours a day, seven days a week until the project is completed. Floodlights will also be used at night to illuminate the project areas. For public safety purposes there will be fencing and personnel on site to restrict access in the active project areas to authorized personnel only.
By Kimberly Blair (pnj)

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