Researcher Earns Grant from Sebastian Inlet

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Dr. Lee Harris, Florida Tech associate professor of ocean engineering, has received a $41,000 grant from the Sebastian Inlet Tax District
to conduct pipeline inspections and turbidity monitoring at Sebastian Inlet. The work supports the dredging of the Sebastian Inlet channel extension, a
nine-foot-deep channel, which will connect the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to the inlet. The project is targeted for completion in July 2007.
                Florida Tech graduate students, under the direction of Harris,
are monitoring the several miles of pipeline for leaks in the Indian River, Sebastian River, Canal C-54 and two miles inland. “We are ensuring that the
dredging projects are done without harming the environment. We measure turbidity and inform the dredge operators when they reach a level that is too high
so they can stop until the levels subside. We also report any pipeline leaks that also require the dredge to stop until the leaks are fixed,” said Harris.
                With the help of graduate and undergraduate students, Harris has
collected wave and weather data at the inlet since 1996. The data the team provides is used by the Sebastian Inlet Tax District to manage the inlet. 
                The Sebastian Inlet is believed to have been the only inlet on
Florida’s East Coast without a marked and maintained channel to the Intracoastal Waterway. The $3.4 million dredging project will create a navigable marked
passage for the first time between the inlet and the ICW.                 When
the channel extension project is complete, the channel will provide safe passage for vessels from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Sebastian Inlet. From
there boats can go out into the ocean.

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