Project to fill in Camille Cut on Ship Island begins

GULFPORT – Four federal agencies are working to save Ship Island from erosion that has become a serious threat to the island’s existence.

Work has already begun to add sand to the north side of West Ship, but that is just a kick off to a much bigger project next year -- filling the Camille Cut. The whole project is expected to last more than two years and cost $300 million.

Hurricane Camille cut through Ship in 1969 and separated it into East and West Ship in an area of the island that storms have historically breached, said Dr. Susan Rees, an oceanographer and head of the Corps of Engineers’ Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program in charge of the project.

But historically, there has been enough sand in the system to heal the breach, as the sands of the island move and migrate west.

“There’s not enough sand moving in the system now to heal the cut,” she said. “If we don’t artificially fill it, East Ship would begin to disappear. There’s not a lot of it left now.”Then West Ship would be next, she said.

The Sun Herald will travel to Ship Island on Thursday with the Corps of Engineers to see the beginning of the project that is expected to last into 2014 and culminate with filling the Camille Cut with 13 million cubic yards of sand excavated from the bottom of the Gulf.

Read more on sunherald.com and in Friday's Sun Herald.