By Steve Plunkett

The city hopes to win a $109,050 matching grant to help pay for replacement equipment to move sand from the Boca Raton Inlet south onto beaches.

The City Council authorized applying for the Florida Inland Navigation District grant at its April 24 meeting.

If the city stopped dredging, “the Boca Raton Inlet would likely become impassible for all but shallow draft vessels in less than one year,” city financial/coastal project administrator Jennifer Bistyga said in the grant application. 

Also, if sand were not moved south, the beaches at South Inlet Park would be in “a severely eroded state,” the application says.

Boca Raton has been dredging the inlet ever since Arvida Corp. deeded the waterway to the city in 1972 with the provision that the city keep it navigable. 

The dredge will be pulled out of the water and unavailable up to two months at the end of the year while its hull is replated and protective painting is applied. Dredge piping, the main pump and a swing winch would be replaced in summer 2013.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection requires the city to move 83,000 cubic yards of sand from the inlet to the beaches each year.

More than 80 boats pass through the inlet on an average weekday and more than 100 on weekends and holidays, the application says.

The navigation district awarded a $240,000 grant in 1998 to help buy dredge equipment. A $100,000 grant in 2000 partly paid for a tugboat to move the
dredge.

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