House Panel Approves Federal Support For Local Beach Nourishment

A Congressional Panel recently approve continue support of local beach nourishment projects. Carolina and Kure Beaches would receive 15-year renourishment project extension and there would be $53.8 million authorized for remainder of the Wrightsville Beach project. A Congressional Panel recently approve continue support of local beach nourishment projects. Carolina and Kure Beaches would receive 15-year renourishment project extension and there would be $53.8 million authorized for remainder of the Wrightsville Beach project.

House Panel Approves Federal Support For Local Beach Nourishment Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 22 July 2020 16:19

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WASHINGTON D.C. - On July 16th, Congressman David Rouzer (NC-7), announced the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, "Approved a bipartisan ports and water resources development bill that included authorization for
continued federal support of beach renourishment projects in Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure Beaches.  The bill authorizes $53.788 million in federal funding for use over the remaining lifetime of the Wrightsville Beach renourishment project, which will continue until 2036."
According to Rouzer's office, "The bill also includes a 15-year extension of the beach renourishment project at Carolina and Kure Beaches.  A 50-year authorization for the project had expired in 2012 and federal participation has been operating on short-term extensions since then.  The bill authorizes $24.205 million in federal funding for the 15-year extension, which will begin in 2022."
Congressman Rouzer, a member of the Committee who has long advocated for federal support of beach re-nourishment efforts in southeastern North Carolina, issued the following statement following the bill’s passage, "These are major wins that were in doubt just a few years ago when I was first elected," said Congressman David Rouzer.  "Southeastern North Carolina’s beaches are a national treasure, and they’re also the bedrock of these local coastal communities that support job growth for our region.  Federal support for these renourishment projects are key to preserving property and limiting the financial losses that hurricanes and other major storms would otherwise cause, which saves the federal government money too.  I’m looking forward to passage on the floor of the House and getting this legislation signed into law later this year."
According to Rouzer's office, "The legislation, formally known as the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives in the coming weeks."
The Carolina Beach Town Council approved moving forward with an agreement between the Town and the Army Corp of Engineers during their Tuesday, February 11th, 2020  meeting to study extending the Town's beach renourishment project for another 50 years.
In January Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin explained, "Staff found out this afternoon, and this is great news that there is Federal money allocated for a potential 50-year project for Carolina Beach. Right now this is 100%
At the Federal funding. Right now, what we've been pushing for is a 15-year project is all we thought we would get. that is still in the works" and being reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Parvin explained, "It's a three year study is what it will take to put that in place and hopefully the end outcome is we will get that 50-year approval."
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said, "That was really good news" and, "We can have a beach for 50 more years."
In July of 2019, he Town asked citizens to submit a letter of support to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for continued federal beach nourishment  through 2036.
The USACE Wilmington District recently published a "Draft Integrated Beach Renourishment Evaluation Report and Environmental Assessment (BRER/EA) for Carolina Beach, - June 2019."
Earlier this year, according to Town officials, highlights of the report and Recommended Plan:
• Failure to re-nourish will result in severe beach and dune erosion, destruction of property, wildlife habitat, loss of beach recreation area and result in large negative impacts to our tourist based economy.
• The Recommended Plan will reduce coastal storm damage to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure, mitigate future land loss, maintain recreational value and demand of the beach, and possibly reduce emergency response time.
• The Plan would benefit habitat for sea turtles, shore birds and other wildlife.
• The Plan will benefit our local economy by maintaining the area as a year round tourist destination and support related businesses and jobs.
According the USACE, "The purpose of this study is to determine Federal interest to continue coastal storm risk management through periodic nourishment in the Carolina Beach project shoreline from just north of the Carolina Beach Fishing Pier to a point just south of Carolina Sands Drive.  Under the current project authorization, Federal participation in periodic nourishment is scheduled to end in 2020.  If the recommendations in this report are ultimately federally authorized, Federal participation in periodic nourishment would continue from 2022 through 2036.  This study was authorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 under Section 1037(a) --- Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction, with amendments in WRDA of 2018 under Section 1158.
"During the Council's February 11th meeting, Interim Town Manager Ed Parvin explained, "We have been under a 50 year agreement with the Army Corp to renourish our beach. That agreement has ended and we have been working on a 15 year extension to keep a project that has federal funding attached to it. So, something that Council has been working on with the Army Corp and trying to get put in place is a similar agreement that we have had for the last 50 years. And you have been successful at working with you and Councilman Shuttleworth... getting that funding in place."
He explained, "The Army Corp has been able with your assistance to get $3 million dollars where we can use that funding to create that 50 year plan. It will be basically a little different than the 15 year. It will be starting from scratch. We will get to participate in helping to define the scope of the project and look at all of the different nuances of Carolina Beach's project. How often it occurs. All of the logistics of it occurring. We are looking for a motion from Council to move forward with the 50 year plan and then we will start having scoping meetings with the Army Corp within I think the next 60 days is what they told us."
Mayor Leann Pierce made a motion to move forward with the process. The Council voted unanimously.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth was not at the meeting, but has been a long time proponent of conducting the study and extending the program.
Pierce explained, "It's very important for the public that we do these studies so we can extend our 15 years and then hopefully 50 more years because we are the first Town to fall out of that federal funding plan. Everybody is looking at Carolina Beach to see how we handle it so we will be an example for other beach towns."
A project began earlier last year to pump sand on the beach front in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach. Crews working for Weeks Marine, Incorporated completed the $21-million project by April 29th.
The project was required to be completed by April 28th, prior to the April 30th deadline to avoid interfering with the federal protected sea turtle nesting season. Hurricane Florence eroded the beach front in both Towns. In many areas dunes suffered heavy erosion leaving twelve to fifteen foot high escarpments or cliffs. The project was already scheduled for the Spring of 2019. Following Florence, additional funding was provided to address the increased erosion.
The USACE Wilmington District announced that the periodic nourishment contract was awarded on Nov. 30, 2018, at a cost of approximately $17.4-million to Weeks Marine, Incorporated. That amount later increased to $21 million dollars due to increased funding following Hurricane Florence.
In 2019 Project Manager Jim Medlock explained, "The Corps was fortunate to receive additional emergency funding to cover these repairs at 100 percent federal cost," and, "This allows us to place more sand on the shoreline while reducing the amount of non-Federal funding required to accomplish the overall contract scope."


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