Fernandina Beach Project

Winter is a quieter time at the beaches of Amelia Island, typically off season for ocean swimming with a fraction of beach visitors, as compared to the height of summer tourism.

It’s during wintertime when beach nourishment projects happen here. When and where adding sand to the beach will happen is managed and scheduled by the Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Beach Renourishment, Churning Water & Sand Spews From Pipe
BEACH NOURISHMENT: Churning Water & Sand Spews From Pipe

Locally, Fernandina’s beach nourishment process goes hand in hand with dredging maintenance of the St. Marys Inlet off Amelia Island’s northern tip (adjacent to Fort Clinch). An important commercial cargo corridor of Fernandina’s harbor port, this waterway is also used by the Trident nuclear powered submarines of nearby Georgia’s Kings Bay Navy base. UPDATE: See latest beach news about the construction activity (published in March 2019),  with video, beach map and more photos, “Sand, Submarines and Sea Turtles.”

Winter Beach Closures

One thousand feet of beach will be closed at a time during this winter (during December 2018 into March 2019). Note that the exact location will be shifting during the ongoing progress of the project.

Beach Renourishment Project, Stay Clear of Roped Off Areas
Beach Nourishment Project, Stay Clear of Roped Off Areas

The photos here were taken earlier this year (in March 2018 by Amelia Island Living eMagazine), when an area of beach nourishment was underway slightly north of where the current project will be happening.

Read more below about the specific beach areas, as announced in a news release from the Army Corps of Engineers:

“Nassau County residents and visitors will begin seeing construction equipment and dredging pipes on Fernandina Beach around November 1, 2018 in preparation for the next scheduled maintenance dredging of U.S. Naval Station Kings Bay and sand placement at Fernandina Beach and Fort Clinch State Park. The project will get underway in December 2018 and will last for approximately three months. Dredging will end before March 31, 2019 which is the end of the environmental turtle window allowing hopper dredging.”

“The Fernandina Beach placement area starts just south of New York Avenue and will go as far south as Sadler Road. Contractors completed work from New York Avenue to Jasmine Avenue last year, and will start sand placement around Jasmine Avenue. The Corps estimates the contractor will place about 340,000 cubic yards at Fernandina Beach. The Corps estimates that about 170,000 cubic yards will be placed at Fort Clinch State Park. 930,000 cubic yards of non-beach compatible sand will be placed between the approved nearshore disposal area and an offshore disposal site.”

“The beach will remain open to residents and visitors outside the work areas. The contractor expects to close about 1,000 feet of the beach at a time during the nourishment project. Outside of the active fill area, public access over the dredging pipes will occur every 200 to 400 feet. Swimmers and surfers are strongly encouraged to avoid the construction area to avoid injury.”

“The Corps asks the public to use caution around construction areas and to be patient with temporary construction noise as the project progresses. Residents living close to the beach and near the active construction will likely hear heavy equipment and backup alarms.”

Project Sponsors

“Sponsored by the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and the City of Fernandina Beach, the project is critical to commercial cargo transiting the port and also to the Navy base, which shares the entrance channel. Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, Amelia Island Tourist Development Council, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection contributed $1.6 million to the project allowing sand placement in critical areas on the beach.”
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MORE INFO: For more info and updates, visit www.saj.usace.army.mil, Facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict and twitter.com/JaxStrong.