Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Federal Funds Likely to Help Renourishment, Dredging

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Federal Funds Likely to Help Renourishment, Dredging

Article excerpt

Byline: Caren Burmeister, Shorelines staff writer

Congress is expected to approve a half-million dollars for the Beaches' 2005 beach restoration project and $4 million to dredge the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Valley, where dozens of homeowners may have to cut back docks that illegally extend into the waterway.

The House of Representatives this week funded about $16 million in energy and water project requests for Northeast Florida.

"This bill contains funds vital to maintaining our waterways, researching our environment and protecting our shorelines," said U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla. "This bill helps to bring a better quality of life to the people of Northeast Florida."

The funding is expected to receive Senate approval this week and go to the White House for President Bush's signature.

About $500,000 of the funding will help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers find an offshore sand shoal that could supply beach-grade sand for the 2005 Shore Protection Project along Jacksonville's coast.

The most recent beach renourishment, which ended in failure in January, used material from the St. Johns River dredging project because corps officials said offshore sand sources had been exhausted and the river bottom material was the next best source.

The corps halted the beach restoration when river material, piped onto 20 blocks of shoreline in south Jacksonville Beach, contained oyster shells, clay balls and other debris. The contractor couldn't finish the job by April 15, when dredging equipment had to be removed from the Atlantic Ocean before the May 1 start of sea turtle nesting season.

The federal funds will be matched by local money, bringing the total to about $900,000. That should be enough for the corps and the Florida Geological Survey to collect and analyze data on core samples from several offshore sites that could be suitable for future beach restoration, officials said. …

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