Goal of aggressive timeline is permit in six months

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 10:03 AM.

The channel is there and roughly 60 percent is need of little more than maintenance dredging, said board member Eugene Raffield.

“We need to note that compared to other ports in the state this will probably need the least amount of dollars to keep it open per ship,” Raffield said. “That is very appealing to agencies.”

Perry said a recent seagrass study showed “minimal impact” from the dredging.

The St. Joe Company has identified a number of inland sites for the spoil material from dredging and preliminary examination of the shipping channel showed there was a possibility of materials, particularly near the spit of St. Joseph Peninsula, suitable for beach nourishment.

The first major component of the application moving ahead, Perry said, was an in-depth study of the sediment in the channel.

Over several days in mid-November work will begin from a pair of barges as engineers bore 67 GPS noted locations in the shipping channel to determine the soil contents. Engineers will bore two inches below authorized depths at various points of the channel.

“We need to get busy on that immediately,” Perry said. “It is very important we know for the 14 miles of the channel what we have and where, what is suitable for beach material and what is not.

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