After years of trying to dredge the East Pass, the Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the City of Destin and Okaloosa County, will begin dredging the navigational channel Near the end of the month under a joint FDEP Permit issued to the City and County.
The process to get to this point has involved multiple agencies, overcoming weather, funding, and litigation issues, and a final push by Congressman Gaetz’s office to prioritize the East Pass dredging project.
Funding for the project will come from federal funds for the first $1,500,000 and thereafter local from tourism bed tax dollars for another $500,000 or more depending on the final dredging costs. The project is expected to take approximately 30 days depending on the weather and the final amount of material to be removed.
The dredging is expected to remove approximately 250,000 cubic yards+/- of sand from the federal navigation channel. Per the inlet management plan material is required to be placed on the adjacent eroding beach (i.e., where it is most needed) as determined by an engineering analysis. Per that analysis and the FDEP permit, the material for this dredging project is required to be placed to the east of the inlet.
For a visual image of the area to be dredged (red) and the location of where the material will be placed (green) please see the attached project overview figure.
The project accomplishes two very important project goals: dredging the navigation channel to provide safe navigational access within East Pass for commercial and recreational vessels and beneficially using the dredged sand to provide much needed storm protection and beach (recreation) area along Okaloosa County’s most severely eroded beach.