Hill discusses ‘emergency dredging’

Special to the PRESS

City of South Padre Island Shoreline Director Brandon Hill gave a presentation Tuesday evening at the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center, speaking to a group of Texas Master Naturalists and other concerned citizens about the city’s latest plan to renourish Island beaches.

The Nearshore Berm Nourishment Project and Particle Tracing Study is a multi-year undertaking of sand placement and data tracking that will address the crisis of the Island’s fastest eroding beach areas. The City of SPI is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the U.S. Geological Survey, (USGS) Texas A&M – Galveston, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), and Partrac, a United Kingdom-based company that deploys what is known as tracer sand.

That tracer sand, 4,400 pounds of it, matches the grain size of the sand in our area. Chartreuse in color, it will allow officials to track the movement of the sand deposits from the renourishment project as it moves along the shores of SPI.

Beginning his presentation with an image of a dredging vessel and captioned “SPI is Washing Away,” Hill described the situation and the events that led to the initiation of this latest renourishment project.

“We’re in the midst of an emergency dredging right now on SPI,” Hill said, going on to explain how the Brownsville Ship Channel and the entrance channel had become so shoaled in that USACE took action to get a dredge project underway to deal with the crisis.

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