030618_vad_news_dredging

A large crowd gathers on King Fisher Beach in Port O'Connor before the Fourth of July fireworks show in 2016. The beach was crowded all day with families grilling, playing games and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. A $400,000 federally-funded project commissioned by the Army Corps of Engineers will deposit up to 100,000 cubic yards of sediment on the beach in 45 days.

There will be more of King Fisher Beach to enjoy come summertime.

This week, RLB Contracting Inc., of Port Lavaca, began dredging the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and depositing sediment on King Fisher Beach in Port O’Connor.

The $400,000 federally funded project was commissioned by the Army Corps of Engineers, which designated King Fisher Beach as one of its dredge material placement areas long ago, said Andrew Smith, a resident engineer with the agency out of Corpus Christi.

Weather permitting, RLB Contracting Inc. will deposit up to 100,000 cubic yards of sediment on the beach in 45 days, he said.

That much sediment would fill the The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. three times.

The Corps must maintain the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at a depth of 12 feet in the area and is just getting to this task after Hurricane Harvey forced the agency to address others first, Smith said.

Although Smith didn’t know how much Harvey eroded King Fisher Beach, he suspected the beach had eroded and residents and visitors alike would be grateful for the new material.

“I bet this is the third time that we’ve placed material there, and that’s been over my career here of more than 20 years. It’s not very often that we do it,” he said.

During the next 45 days, parts of the beach will be off-limits to the public for their safety, Smith said. He also asked that boaters mind the clearly marked pipeline running in the water from the dredge to the beach.

“One of our concerns is that folks who aren’t paying attention for whatever reason will either run into the pipeline or have trouble getting around the dredge,” he said.

This story was updated on April 6, 2018 to correct the name of the contractor.

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Jessica Priest reports on the environment and Calhoun County for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at jpriest@vicad.com or 361-580-6521.

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Former Environment/Investigations Reporter

Jessica Priest worked for the Victoria Advocate from August 2012-September 2019, first as the courts reporter and then as the environment/investigations reporter. Read her work now at www.jessicapriest.me.

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