Posted on April 14, 2023
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dredging up public opinion about a proposed project in the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Corps is soliciting comments on planned maintenance dredging in sections of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway or GIWW.
The Corps’ stated objective is to maintain the safe navigability of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Corps’ additional goals include:
- Reduction of storm damages;
- Reestablishment of beaches;
- Maintenance of habitat for nesting sea turtles, invertebrate species and shorebirds;
- Maintenance of commerce associated with beach recreation;
- Acquisition of beach-quality material in a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable manner, according to a March 21 news release.
The proposal shows about 44,000 cubic yards of material would be excavated from channel marker 1 to channel marker 14 in the Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island sections of the GIWW, with potential sand disposal occurring nearshore and on the beaches of Longboat Pass and possibly uplands.
In inviting comments, the Corps said it would evaluate the project for its potential to impact sea turtle and bird habitat, water quality, threatened and endangered species and cultural and recreational resources such as fishing, swimming and boating.
ICW construction began in 1960 and was completed in 1967. The Florida Peninsula section, or GIWW of the Intracoastal Waterway, traverses Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas counties.
The West Coast Inland Navigation District is the nonfederal sponsor for the regional project except in Pinellas, where the county is the nonfederal sponsor.
The Corps anticipates dredging to take place over the next 10-15 years.
Comments can be submitted to CESAJ-GIWW-Navigation@usace.army.mil or U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, ATTN: Kathryn Lebow, 701 San Marco Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32207.