Cavache Inc. of Pompano Beach, Florida, began dredging the Ponce de Leon Inlet and Intracoastal Waterway channels in early August. Approximately 450,000 cubic yards of sand will be removed and pumped via pipeline to the nearshore disposal area along New Smyrna Beach. Cavache is using the Ellicott 1170 portable cutterhead dredge Maya Caelyn to conduct the dredging. Eighteen-inch pipeline will be floated down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to an existing pipeline sleeve, run through the sleeve and exit onto the beach. At the point of entry onto the beach, the pipeline will be buried up to the point where it meets water. There the pipeline will be floated out to the nearshore disposal area. Due to the lengthy pumping distances, multiple boosters are being used. Sand placed in the nearshore placement area is expected to migrate to the beaches.
The navigation channel in Ponce de Leon Inlet is unstable and causes a continuing safety problem. The Coast Guard has documented vessel groundings, capsized vessels and more than 20 lives lost in and around the inlet. The dredging will bring the ICW at this location to its authorized depth of 12 feet plus 2 feet of allowable over depth and the Ponce de Leon Inlet to its varying authorized depths of 7 feet to 12 feet plus 2 feet of allowable overdepth. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District is funding the $8,500,000 project. Work is expected to take approximately eight months.