TAMPA BIG BEND CHANNEL DEEPENING PROJECT – HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL

Laughing Gull Chicks

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (GLDD) works with clients and stakeholders to optimize the beneficial use of dredged material on our projects. This has taken many forms of biological habitat creation from beach nourishment, to wetlands, and marshes but also structural uses like land reclamation and levee construction.

Beneficial use has been a part of GLDD’s project approach for years and we are pleased that there is a renewed interest from our clients with the development of biological habitats. We work

with our clients, as allowed, during the design and permitting stages so they can understand our equipment capabilities and we can understand the intent of their program. Once underway,

 

Royal Tern Chicks

GLDD project teams take enormous pride in being able to build these types of projects and exceed client expectations through partnering on site to make the habitat work the way they intended.

One excellent example of successful habitat creation is GLDD’s recent Tampa Big Bend Channel Deepening project in Hillsborough County, Florida, for the US Army Corp of Engineers’ Jacksonville District. As we deepened the Big Bend Channel from 34 to 43 feet, GLDD dredged over 3.3M cy of material (mostly sand) and placed

it on an island first formed in the early 1980’s when the bay was originally created. Because the volume of this sandy material was so large, it presented an opportunity for the Corps and port to beneficially use the material to create an Caspian Tern Chicksideal bird habitat. GLDD crews worked with the Corps and port to shape the sand in appropriate ways to attract wildlife. In addition to being a successful dredging project, locals would say it was an even better environmental project.

Caspian Tern Chicks

Environmentalists have noted a significant increase in wildlife among at least 11 different species of shore birds now nesting on the man-made island (see box at right for a representative list).

The Big Bend Channel Deepening project is an excellent example of how GLDD is creating significant economic benefit while making a positive impact on the environment.

 

 

 

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

 

  • The Port of Big Bend is part of Tampa Bay Port, supporting liquid and dry bulk raw materials. The deepening of Big Bend Terminal will allow deeper draft vessels to access Mosaic terminal for the export of phosphates and Tampa Electric’s berths to receive larger shipments of coal.
  • Project sponsored by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Jacksonville District, the Tampa Bay Port Authority, and the Florida Department of Transportation. Removal of 3.3 million cubic yards (base and options) of shoaled and new work material from the Big Bend Entrance Channel, Turning Basin, and Berthing Areas.
  • Widening the Entrance Channel from 200 to 250 feet, and expanding the turning basin to allow for a minimum diameter of 1,200 feet. Option A deepens the Inner Channel that services the TECO berth, and Option B deepens the Channel and berths that service Mosaic, Port Tampa Bay Berths 301 and 302, and Port Redwing.
  • Strict environmental requirements—numerous observers onboard the dredge 24 hours a day— to monitor manatee congregation area from November to April.

INCREASED WILDLIFE NOW NESTING ON THE NEW MAN-MADE HABITAT

CASPIAN TERNS
155 adults
102 chicks
31 nests
2 fledges

GULL-BILLED TERNS
277 adults
58 chicks
85 nests

ROYAL TERNS
1372 adults
108 chicks
176 nests

SANDWICH TERNS
106 adults
39 chicks
12 nests

LAUGHING GULLS
14,000 adults
300 chicks
6,000 nests

LEAST TERNS
20 adults
8 nests

BLACK SKIMMERS
376 adults
39 chicks
115 nests

The Ellis Island

The Ellis Island recently commenced dredging operations on Phase 1 of the MSCIP Comprehensive Barrier Island Restoration Plan in the U. S. Gulf of Mexico offshore of Gulfport Mississippi. With a 15,000 cubic yard capacity Ellis Island is the largest hopper dredge in the U. S..

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