A major project to rebuild the jetties at Menemsha Creek has been delayed about three weeks and will likely extend into the nesting season of the federally protected piping plover.

The jetties and an eight-foot channel extending into Menemsha Pond are part of a federal navigation project that was completed in 1950. The Army Corps of Engineers had expected to complete repairs to the west jetty in Aquinnah by Tuesday of this week, prior to the arrival of the beach-nesting birds.

The east jetty in Chilmark is still on track to be completed by May 21, project manager Craig Martin said this week.

Stone Jenga: boulders are being adjusted and reassembled at the Menemsha jetties. — Albert O. Fischer

A $1.26 million contract was issued to RC&D Inc., of Pawtucket, R.I, in January, but work was stalled by ice and snow that lasted through February. By Tuesday, much of the west jetty had been disassembled, with large boulders lying in a pile and two construction cranes perched on the west jetty.

Mr. Martin said the Army Corps had negotiated the extension with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, the two programs responsible for piping plovers, and that a wildlife professional would be monitoring the beach area.

Bret Stearns, natural resources director for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) said it was likely too early for piping plovers to have arrived on the beach. The small birds appear on state shores beginning in late March, but most arrive in April, according to Mass Audubon. The north shore of Aquinnah is monitored by the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Edgartown and BiodiversityWorks in Vineyard Haven.

Piping plovers typically avoid the beach east of the east jetty, and other areas that are more popular among people.

Staff members from the Felix Neck sanctuary have already begun monitoring the north shore in Aquinnah. “Our staff was out there yesterday,” Felix Neck director Suzan Bellincampi said Wednesday. “No tracks, no plovers.” She added that the plovers arrived late last year and that in some years there are not many sightings.

Most of the work on the west jetty will be done from atop the jetty itself and from a floating work barge, which Mr. Martin said would not require wildlife monitoring. He said the project was still on budget and he hoped the west jetty would be finished within three weeks.

Both jetties were damaged during Hurricane Bob in 1991, but federal funding became available after Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which Mr. Martin said dealt the “final blows.” One of the jetties was further damaged during the construction of the U.S. Coast Guard Boathouse in Menemsha harbor.

The new stones had to be barged in from off-Island, since the Vineyard did not have the right type of stone for the project, Mr. Martin said. The contractors have been working to rebuild the jetties from the inside out, adding core stones and then an outer layer of boulders. The Army Corps expected to use a total of 1,959 tons of new stone for the project.

“The operator out there is quite skilled,” Mr. Stearns said. “It’s actually something very interesting to watch.”

He described a crane with a hydraulic four-point tip being used to carefully raise and adjust each boulder. “It’s like stone Jenga,” he said. “It’s far more artful than one would expect.”