St. Mary's Entrance Inlet Management


Location: Nassau County, Florida

Client: Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Nassau Soil and Water Conservation District; City of Fernandina Beach; Florida Park Service

Tasks: Facilitate strategic sand bypassing from federal channel maintenance at the largest tidal inlet within the State.


In the early 1980’s, firm professionals assisted in negotiating a first of its kind Memorandum-Of-Understanding (MOU) among the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (formerly DNR) intended to require the strategic placement of all beach quality sand dredged from a federally constructed and maintained navigation channel at St. Mary’s Entrance on the downdrift shores of Amelia Island, Florida.  To date, well over 5M cy have been bypassed at this location at no cost to local interests, or the State.  To further assist in codifying the bypass arrangement, Olsen Associates, Inc. formulated an Inlet Management Plan – based upon a detailed technical investigation of the inlet’s history since the 1800’s – which was formally adopted by the F.D.E.P.  A subsequent numerical model investigation by the firm at St. Mary’s Entrance has likewise evaluated the propriety of dredging interior Cumberland Shoals sufficient to both increase sand bypassing and reduce shoaling within the navigation channel.  The firm likewise continues to assist the State and local interests in the preferred oceanfront location of beach quality disposal sand on almost an annual basis.  Under certain circumstances, sand is likewise placed seaward of historic Fort Clinch which is located along the southern shore of the inlet at its confluence with the Amelia River.

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