MVI was pleased to provide endangered and protected species monitoring subcontracted through Cyriacks Environmental Consulting Services Incorporated (CECOS), for the recently completed jetty rehabilitation project contracted by the United States Army Corp of Engineers to Kiewit Infrastructure South Corporation. The project aimed to restore the hurricane-damaged Ponce Inlet Jetty in Volusia County, Florida. Approximately 2,000 new quarried stones were added to the jetty and a new Aid to Navigation (ATON) was installed to replace one that had been destroyed by the hurricane storm surge.

Construction began on the 1st of April 2021 and, after a break during the winter, the last stone was placed on the 7th of August 2022. MVI’s Endangered Species Observers (ESOs) monitored for protected marine species from two construction barges. They alerted the crew when various protected species were present in the area and called for operational shutdowns when the animals entered a fixed exclusion zone distance from construction activities. ESOs recorded all sightings of protected species in the area and reported their detections daily along with detailed notes on shutdowns. In total there were 1,143 detections of protected marine species during the project including 721 green sea turtles.

Sea turtle detections were numerous during the project and necessitated the majority of the 140 total shutdowns. Most days it was necessary for the ESOs to monitor multiple sea turtles moving around the mitigation area simultaneously. One of MVI’s talented and dedicated ESOs, Charity Jackson, monitored for 132 days on the project. She explained, “Many of the animals were observed in roughly the same area for weeks at a time. Most of the turtles present were juvenile greens and many were given nicknames to match their individual physical characteristics and behaviors. One such turtle was named “Little Bite” due to the bite-like notch in its carapace.”

Manatees were also frequently seen on the project at 116 total detections. Charity said, “While many (manatees) were just passing through causing minimal delay to the project, on occasion they would remain in the area for a period of time moving in and out of the mitigation area and causing multiple shutdowns and/or delays.”

Despite the numerous sightings in the construction area, the project was successfully completed without incident or injury to any animals.