BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Ship Island’s restoration project is now getting federal dollars for phases three and four.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is issuing a $56.6 million contract toward the barrier island’s post-Katrina restoration project, said Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on Tuesday.
The project is a joint effort between the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service. It is connecting the 3.5-mile cut originally created by Hurricane Camille and widened by Hurricane Katrina.
The fixed-price contract is part of the Mississippi Coastal Improvements program, a comprehensive initiative authorized and funded by Congress to aid in the recovery of portions of coastal Mississippi severely damaged during the 2005 hurricane season.
This restoration will build up the sand on the eastern end of Ship Island, as well as the northern shoreline in the area that used to be called Camille Cut.
“Mississippi’s barrier islands serve as our first line of defense," said Hyde-Smith. "The restoration of Ship Island as a protective barrier island is a significant project that can help improve the safety of the coast and the health of the Mississippi Sound.”
According to Mississippi Coastal Improvements, it’s the second-largest restoration project in the history of the National Park Service, only behind the Florida Everglades.
Restoration is huge for the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which draws 5 million people a year, more than Yellowstone.
The second phase, which is underway now, will raise the level of sand two more feet and double the width. That will be finished in March of 2020. The third and fourth phases are scheduled to be finished this time next year.