New Help For Island

The city of Pascagoula will begin a dredging project early next year to prevent further erosion of Round Island. The plan calls for dredging sand from the sea bottom west of the island and placing it near the site of the old lighthouse, said Betty Bensey, the city's grants coordinator.

The island is less than half the size it was a century ago, city officials said. Over the past century or longer, the sand from the island drifted to the approximate area of dredging, Bensey said. Placing sand between the current island and the breakwater will prevent further erosion, Bensey said. The city will pay for the first sand restoration with a $100,000 state Tidelands grant that the city will receive Tuesday and two previous Tidelands grant totaling about $300,000.

With the grant money, the city will soon let bids for a dredging contract, assistant city manager Jamie Miller said. The work should take about three months.