“All the dredging is in the channel or near the point itself. It’s not anticipated that we’ll have to do any dredging south of Norriego Point.”

DESTIN — Construction of the first phase of the Norriego Point restoration and recreation project is scheduled to begin by this fall.

That’s according to Pearce Barrett, Natural Resources Damage Assessment program coordinator for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The assessment program was created in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill, and settlement money from the disaster will pay for the project.

Barrett, who is the FDEP’s project manager for the Norriego Point work, told the Destin City Council on Monday that the project’s first phase will involve stabilizing and armoring the point against erosion.

According to FDEP information, officials plan to stabilize the point to its pre-Hurricane Opal profile. That storm hit the area in September 1995.

The FDEP in May awarded the $9.7 million first phase of the project to Columbia, Illinois-based Luhr Bros. Inc. Mobilization is set to start in the second or third week of September, and substantial completion is anticipated to occur by May 31, 2018, Barrett said.

Plans for the stabilization work include restoring 1,150 linear feet of shoreline. An estimated 115,000 cubic yards of beach-compatible sand will be dredged from East Pass and Destin Harbor navigation channels and added to the point, and new swimming areas will be created on the East Pass side, according to the FDEP.

“Dredging will start on the north side of the inlet on the north side of (Marler Bridge) and will work south,” Barrett told the council. “All the dredging is in the channel or near the point itself. It’s not anticipated that we’ll have to do any dredging south of Norriego Point.”

Phase one work also will include the installation of sheet pile walls, rock breakwaters and rock shoreline stabilization structures.

“All of the construction at this (time) is being proposed to be waterward (on the water side) of the point,” Barrett said. “We will not be pulling construction trucks through Holiday Isle.”

The rocks for the project will be transported by barge from a quarry on the Mississippi River, he said.

Norriego Point’s recreation area currently is 7.6 acres. When the first phase is completed, the recreation area will encompass 13 acres, according to the FDEP.

When phase one is completed, boats will still be able to pull up along the beach on the harbor side of the point or go to new, select spots on the East Pass side.

The second phase of the project, which will focus on dune restoration, is set to start in the fall of 2018. This phase will include the planting of about 28,000 square feet of sea oats, which will help stabilize the dunes and provide habitat and a food source for birds and other wildlife, according to the FDEP.

The last phase will add recreational amenities and is also scheduled to begin in fall 2018. Bids will be put out later for the second and final phases, which do not yet have definitive completion dates.

Plans for the final phase include an access road, restrooms, showers, a drinking fountain, trails, boardwalks, dune crossovers, a viewing pavilion, educational environmental signage and more parking.

In response to concerns from Councilman Cyron Marler about congestion on the waterways during construction, Barrett noted that much of the overall work will take place in the less busy fall and winter months.

Construction engineering and inspection services for the project are being provided by Jacksonville-based Taylor Engineering, which has an office in Destin.