MANATEE -- West Coast Inland Navigational District is planning a dredge project along Warner's Bayou slated to begin in January.
Nick Azzara, Manatee County spokesperson, said the Warner's Bayou Middle Channel is set to be dredged to maintain accessibility. The dredging is expected to remove 1,300 cubic yards of material from the channel running south from the Bridge at the 59th Street boat ramp between 59th Street and Hillcrest Drive. The material will be hydraulically dredged and piped to a small load-out area on the south side of Riverview Boulevard. There, it will be dewatered using a geo-textile bag called a geotube.
The use of geotubes minimizes the space and time required for dewatering while also containing the material without the usual large berm. The work will allow for minimal impact on boaters and kayakers who frequent the ramp area.
Azzara said the contractor is just waiting on the county to approve a temporary use permit so the company can begin dredging. The permit should be ready next week. Work is expected to last for 60 days, finishing up near the end of February.
There will be minor impacts on boaters, Azzara said.
"Negative impacts will be minimal," he said. "At low tide clearance crossing over the pipeline may require boars to raise engines and drift over depending on their draft."
The channel will be dredged using a small hydraulic dredge with a pipeline to the spoil area. All work will be clearly marked.
Channel access should re
main open, and only the dredging vessel will pose as an obstruction, Azzara said.
An environmental assessment has already been performed, said Max Dersch, natural resource division manager with Manatee County parks and resources.
He said the project still needs permit approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"They have authority over all water in the U.S. -- every ditch, canal, river," Dersch said.
Access to nearby homeowners' properties will be improved when dredging is complete. During the project, neighbors will experience temporary noise and sight disruptions from the construction. Azzara said dredging operations are permitted for daylight only, beginning between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Sue Kinnan, a Manatee County resident who lives near Warner's Bayou, said there should have been more visible notice that the dredging would take place.
"I've had great difficulty finding any notice or info online about dredging and a proposed contract," she said.
She said she uses the bayou every day and goes there to look at the birds and trees.
"I'm not adversarial on the proposed dredging," she said, "I just want to know what's going on,"
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.