Summary of Port, Waterway & Beach Commission Meeting

The Port, Waterway & Beach Commission met on February 10th to discuss a wide variety of topics affecting our area and CBIA association.

Topics discussed included:

Mason Inlet Relocation Project (MIRP)

• The maintenance event is underway with an estimated project completion of 20%.  Shallow Draft Inlet (SDI-5) Permitting

• The Biological Assessment is under formal consultation by the USFWS with a Biological Opinion anticipated in the March/April timeframe.

• Draft reasonable and prudent measures/terms and conditions have been evaluated by the SDI-5 contractor.

Carolina Beach CSDR Project, Beach Renourishment Evaluation Report (BRER).

• A stakeholders meeting was held on January 25th.

• The USACE awaits BRER funding from either the President’s FY17 Budget or the USACE’s FY16 workplan.

And more!

Navigation Waterways

In the Wilmington District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for 300 miles of federal navigation projects along the North Carolina coast that extend from Norfolk, Virginia to Little River, South Carolina. Wilmington Harbor and Morehead City Harbor are the largest navigation projects which have 600 vessels that have 6,500,000 tons of storage areas for containers and cargo. “The Navigation mission is to provide safe, reliable, efficient, effective, and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation systems (i.e. channels, harbors, and waterways) for movement of commerce, national security needs and recreation.” http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx.

Their responsibilities include planning and constructing new channels, ports, and maintain the depths of these channels, ports, and harbors through inlet dredging. These programs are vital to the nation’s economy and the Corps responsibilities are to keep these transportation system navigable because they are viewed as key elements to the State and local government for job creation and economic development for competitiveness and national security. In order to ensure proper funding for inlet dredging remains available, the government has to view inlet dredging of these harbors and ports as a vital necessity for the nation’s economy or government funding could be completely cut out of the budge.

Lack of Inlet Dredging

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Politicians and lobbyists need to be made aware of the consequences of not being able to maneuver safely along the channels. The lack of dredging could cause serious problems within the community of Carolina Beach and Pleasure Island if commercial and recreational vessels did not have the ability to safely maneuver through the inlet. If funds for inlet dredging were to dry up, it would put the whole community in an economic crisis because businesses and tourist depend on inlet dredging to be able travel from the inlet to the ocean.

If the keels of sailboats and vessels were to get trapped in sandbars, this could cost fishermen and tourists tens of thousands of dollars for towing and/or repairs for their boats and vessels. This could get very expensive if the inlet was not dredged which could affect businesses and tourists who rely on the inlet for safe travel within the channels. “A boat expert said it could cost up to $1,800 to remove the vessel from the sandbar.” http://www.krgv.com/news/local-news/Shallow-Waters-at-The-Fingers-Problematic-for-Boats/32243042. The dangers of getting trapped on a sandbar could destroy a boats and/or vessel. If the funds were not available for inlet dredging, Carolina Beach and Pleasant Island’s economy would suffer as vessels and recreational boats could get sand barged which could cause financial disaster for many.