Dredging project to help boaters navigate through East Pass

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A dredging project will help boaters navigate the east pass between Destin and Okaloosa Island.

A new dredging project will begin at East Pass within two weeks, according to the Okaloosa County Commission. (WJHG/WECP)

Dredging between Okaloosa Island and Destin is more than just routine maintenance.

"Every seven years or so we need to dredge the east pass, after all, it fills with sand," said Carolyn Ketchel, Okaloosa County Commissioner.

Commissioners and boaters said it's about safely navigating an area that can fill with vessels.

“There's so much boat traffic in Destin, in Destin Harbor, that we really need to do everything we can do to be safe, not only for the vessels, but also, and primarily, for the passengers," said Alex Kent, a boat captain.

The dredging project will help keep boaters safe as they navigate through east pass, but commissioners say it will also help the beaches.

"Holiday Isle is located below sea level, and will always need to be re-nourished, and the sand really flows from that direction anyways, so we're just putting it back there and eventually it will flow back into the east pass, and we'll dredge that again and put it back to Holiday Isle," said Ketchel.

Dredging will move sand from East Pass to Holiday Isle, giving the pass more depth, and the island more beach.

"It creates better, safer navigation, for all vessels, but especially the larger vessels, it creates more water depth," said Kent.

Commissioners said the cost of the project is estimated to be $2.5 million.

The army corps of engineers is helping pay for part of it. They hope to begin the project within the next couple weeks.

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