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First Dredging Project in a National Marine Sanctuary

CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA) provided environmental services to support the development of the Key West Ship Channel dredging project in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). These services included coordination with state and federal regulatory agencies (Florida Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FKNMS, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), as well as development of permit conditions with these agencies.

Compliance plans were designed and negotiated for Impact Assessment, Coral Transplantation and Relocation, and Turbidity Control and Monitoring at the dredge and disposal sites. CSA conducted resource characterization surveys to provide data to support the design of the Impact Assessment Program and identify and quantify biological communities in the dredging project area. Resource characterizations of dredged material placement sites at Fleming Key and at an offshore site were conducted with side-scan sonar and towed video/still photographs.

CSA also provided environmental support services during the dredging project, including 1) monitoring of the health of the resources and sedimentation at selected coral reef, patch reef, hard bottom, and seagrass sites; 2) pre- and post‑dredging assessments of impacts to resources; 3) monitoring of the net environmental effect of turbidity plumes from passing cruise ships before and after dredging; 4) mitigation of potential damage during dredging near sensitive resources; and 5) public awareness of the dredging project. CSA developed and manages a website for the Navy that provides an overview of the project with maps and photos, environmental documents filed with regulatory agencies, answers to frequently asked questions, news and additional announcements, Notices to Mariners and other navigational bulletins, and a link to send e‑mails to request additional project information.

This resource health and sedimentation monitoring and impact assessment program was conducted as a multi‑year, multi-task delivery order under CSA’s on-going Indefinite Quantity Contract with the Southern Division, Navy Facilities Engineering Command in support of the Atlantic Fleet’s mission as serviced by the Commander Naval Region Southeast offices in Jacksonville, Florida.

Project Location: Northern GOM

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