Weather plagues dredging progress

Dredging materials are deposited on the beach at South Padre Island. (Dina Arévalo | Staff photographer).

Dredging materials are deposited on the beach at South Padre Island. (Dina Arévalo | Staff photographer).

Special to the PRESS

After running into many issues during the City’s most recent Beneficial Use Dredge Material project, the Coastal Resources Department was informed that the large pipelines would be returned to the beach in the fall of 2016 to complete the project.

The project is carried out periodically as a response to natural beach erosion to nourish the City’s beaches with sand that is dredged from the Brazos – Santiago Pass. This project provides a low-cost source of sand to combat severe erosion hot spots on City beaches. According to Coastal Resource and Parks Administrator Reuben Treviño, December’s bad weather allowed the contractors only 11 days to work during the month, and high waves caused issues with keeping sand on the beach. With the usual dredging of the jetty channel, in addition to the first time dredging of the jetty entrance, this year, South Padre Island was supposed to secure over 600,000 cubic yards of sand onto the City’s beaches, however, 200,000 cubic yards remain to be pumped.

After running into so many issues, the City was under the impression that the pipe would be removed and a hopper dredge would be brought in to collect the sand and pump it onto the beach from an offshore pipe, which would be a welcome change as it would not affect the entire beach. However, higher-ups with United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which facilitates the program, have delayed the project until next fall and has allowed for the pipeline contractors to return to complete the job. There will be no additional cost to the City.

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