Sunday, October 1, 2023

Feds approve emergency funding for WB renourishment

Emergency funding for Wrightsville Beach renourishment was approved Aug. 1, 2023. (Port City Daily/Preston Lennon)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — Sand is one step closer to being deposited on Wrightsville Beach after months of stalling and back of forths on action plans.

READ MORE: USACE reverses course again to use Masonboro Inlet for WB dredge under emergency exception

Yesterday, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works approved emergency funding for the Wrightsville Beach renourishment.

USACE Wilmington District requested an emergency exemption from a Coastal Barrier Resources Act, which prevents sand from being removed from the protected Masonboro Inlet. The agency will now be able to do that — just as it has done for decades — due to the dire state of the shoreline in the aftermath of 2018’s Hurricane Florence.

The federal funding will cover the entire renourishment at $21.6 million.

Wrightsville Beach’s federal House Rep. David Rouzer has been urging Congress to reverse the Biden administration reinterpretation that made Masonboro Inlet off limits. After USACE announced the alternative dredge site was the site of a 1970s manmade tire reef, which could be disrupted in the process, Rouzer has also pushed for the project to be granted an emergency exception.

“After months of working with the Corps to find the most expedient solution for this critical project, today’s decision will allow Wrightsville Beach to begin renourishing their shores,” Rouzer said in a press release announcing the decision. “Doing so is imperative to the community’s physical resiliency against future storms, a healthy ecosystem, and our economic safety.”

The dredging is expected to take place this winter.

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