Jupiter Inlet Snafu

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The 400-foot-wide Jupiter Inlet is considered among the most dangerous paths to the ocean for Floridians.

An annual dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers helps to control dangerous shoaling — only this year, the scheduled dredging has yet to occur.

Chalk it up to bad timing.

As officials from the Jupiter Inlet District — the Palm Beach County, Fla., taxing authority that is responsible for overseeing the inlet’s maintenance — reviewed permits and plans for the scheduled dredging late last year, one noticed that permits had expired two years earlier, according to the Palm Beach Post.

The district had reapplied in February but as plans began to take shape, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdowns caused the dredging to be moved to the fall.

Joseph Chaison, executive director for the district, said that the inlet’s sand trap — a manmade channel used to collect sediment and ensure a navigable path to sea — has beefed up drastically since last fall and now contains about 90,000 cubic yards as of spring.

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In comparison, past dredging projects generally remove about 60,000 cubic yards.

Until the dredging takes place this fall, a mariner’s notice will likely remain in place warning of shoaling and low spots over the sand trap.

There’s also the question of what to do with the dredged materials.

“The worry was ... there’s no room to place this material,” Chaison said. “That was a real possibility. It was still a concern for the spring. The beach is really full right now.”

The dredge is now scheduled for the fall. 

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