Degrove Surveyors recently completed a Hydrographic and Topographic Survey for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in support of their efforts on the Mile Point Project. Mile Point is an area located between river miles four and five west of the Atlantic Ocean along the St. Johns River, at the confluence of the river and the Intracoastal Waterway (IWW). The IWW enters the St. Johns River from the south out of Pablo Creek at an angle almost parallel with the channel, with flow usually running in the opposite direction of the flow of the river.
These difficult crosscurrents not only cause concerns about erosion of the Mile Point shoreline, but also prevent certain large vessels from navigating this portion of the river during the ebb tide. As a result, the problems at Mile Point present the greatest obstacle to the growth of Jacksonville’s ports.
The Corps has partnered with Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) to address these problems. The Corps and JAXPORT recently signed the Project Design Agreement which will allow the design to move forward. Currently, the recommended plan includes relocation and reconfiguration of the existing training wall, restoration of Great Marsh Island, and creation of a flow improvement channel in Chicopit Bay. An illustrated presentation of these details can be viewed here.
Degrove’s services included a Hydrographic and Topographic Survey of this entire area, including the area along the training wall and rock jetties, Great Marsh Island, and large portions of Chicopit Bay. Degrove completed the field work in less than three weeks, with as many as three crews working on it at a time. RTK GPS was utilized for both the uplands and hydrographic portions of the project. Hydrographic crews utilized Degrove’s 14-foot Demaree inflatable-pontoon boat. This platform has the advantages of a very shallow draft, superior stability, and a rugged construction that allows the vessel to make contact with jetty rocks without incurring any damages. All data was used to create a Digital Terrain Model.
Above: Image shows coverage area of survey data that Degrove achieved for the Mile Point project.
Degrove Surveyors has recently been supporting the U.S. Forest Service through providing boundary-related line maintenance/marking services in the Apalachicola and Ocala National Forests. The project was recently highlighted in the Gainesville Sun newspaper. The following are excerpts from the article entitled, “Keeping it all straight: Ocala National Forest survey.”
OCALA – Surveyors in the Ocala National Forest are entering the home stretch on an important boundary management project for the U.S. Forest Service.
Since early March, Degrove Surveyors Inc. of Gainesville has had up to three crews at a time performing maintenance on geographic boundary lines in the Astor and Lake George areas. Covering roughly 10 miles of woodland, the lines are situated in sensitive locations where private property and government land often abut.
Forest Service Land Surveyor and Boundary Manager Jeff Fillion is overseeing the project, which is expected to be complete within the next few weeks.
“When you’re walking on the edge of private property and approaching forest service land, it should be obvious. That’s no longer the case,” Fillion said.
The Forest Service is concentrating maintenance efforts on spots noted by prescribed burn fire personnel and areas where boundary violations have been brought to their attention. Once a problem area is identified, Fillion hires private companies to renew the boundary lines. For the Ocala National Forest job, he turned to Degrove Vice President Tom Tracz, who has worked as a surveyor for 30 years.
Tracz assigned crews based on manpower and difficulty accessing the areas in need of maintenance.
“Sometimes just accessing the line is difficult and time consuming,” he said, noting that crews must often carry survey instruments, machetes, paint, posts and other tools deep into the woods.
Surveyor-in-training Will Pyle said although the Ocala forest is designed to be accessible, “there are places that are very, very remote. You can spend a day just looking for enough evidence to get started on marking the lines.
“It seems like the days you work the hardest surveying, you get the least done because you’re having problems with finding corners and getting enough information to actually start working,” he said.
Regarding the current job, “since it’s mainly line maintenance, the boundaries have been determined. It is a matter of making them visible to the public,” Tracz said.
Work crews pinpoint boundary lines, replace missing concrete posts, cut paths through underbrush, place hack marks on trees and paint lines. By the time everything is done, they typically have walked every mile four or five times.
“After we’re done, Jeff will come and we’ll walk it together so he can review what we’ve done and see that everything has been done to Forest Service specifications,” Tracz said.
The effort not only helps the Forest Service; it also helps the community.
Prescribed burns can’t be performed without knowing where property lines are located, and a lack of clear boundaries costs homeowners during new construction projects.
The article can be read in its entirety here.
More on Degrove’s role in the project, both in Ocala and Apalachicola, is available here.