Group seeks to dredge around Peanut Island

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 12, 2016

Staff members with the Marine Industries Association are writing up a proposal to dredge around the northern edge of Peanut Island.

Chuck Collins, executive director of the association, said the goal of the project is to clear up congestion and make that part of the waterway safer for all who enjoy it.

"Because it's so congested, it's creating both an access issue and a safety issue," Collins said.

Collins said that the channels around Peanut Island have been filling up with excess sand for more than two decades, and it's not getting moved out fast enough he added.

This becomes a safety issue, he said, during low tide and busy holiday weekends at Peanut Island.

"We would like to re-establish the channel that goes in the middle and that would actually increase the access for the boats to the sandbar," Collins said.

Right now, access isn't possible for boats to travel through the middle of the sandbar.

"The more I can open that up, the better it'll be," Collins said.

The change has some boaters concerned, as it will cause the sandbar to shrink in size.

"I think people need to pay more attention to what they're doing and how they're driving. Dredging is going to eliminate that sandbar and everyone loves hanging out at that sandbar," said James Knox, a charter boat captain.

Collins said the approval process would take about two years to complete. If approved, the dredging project would take two months.

Collins added that the sand that would be removed would be pumped onto Palm Beach and the beach portion of Phil Foster Park.