Update on Wiggins Pass
The interim maintenance dredge of Wiggins Pass continues into September and may not get completed until early October. Currently, about half of the planned dredge has been completed. As of August 15th, dredging equipment was still in position and work will continue just outside the pass to remove the shoaling that accumulated over the past couple of years. The length of time needed to complete the dredge was extended primarily because of adverse weather/sea conditions. Because the use of a mechanical dredge (essentially a long-reach backhoe and barges) is slower than a hydraulic dredge (essentially a vacuum with long hoses to the discharge area) is faster and but usually more expensive on smaller projects. It is expected that when the dredging is completed, Wiggins Pass will again become navigable at the authorized depths within the channel.
The Estuary Conservation Association will continue to monitor the navigation issues in Wiggins Pass and regularly post this information to its website at www.estuaryconservation.org.
Data Collection Initiatives of the Estuary Conservation Association (ECA)
Starting this October, the ECA will be expanding the collection of comprehensive data on depth soundings in and around Wiggins Pass. While this information is not intended for navigation, the goal is to collect and analyze this information and make this information available to mariners using this waterway. It is currently expected that this information will also be posted when available on the ECA. Updated “Shallow Water” reporting forms will also be made available on the ECA website for mariners using the pass to report problem areas. If you are interested in participation in this process, please check the ECA website after October 1st.
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Alan Ritchie is a member of the Board of the Estuary Conservation Association based in North Naples, FL