The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District recently had the privilege of spending some time with Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District Rep. Garret Graves as he visited several District projects.
Graves is the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which oversees water resources development and regulatory programs administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was invited to Charleston by the South Carolina Ports Authority so he could learn about the Post 45 Harbor Deepening project. Graves was joined by South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District Rep. Mark Sanford and other subcommittee staff members for a day of first-hand learning about the civil works projects their legislation affects.
"The Water Resources Development Act authorizes Army Corps projects that will strengthen infrastructure, protect lives and property, restore ecosystems and maintain navigation routes," said Brian Williams, chief, programs & civil project management. "Charleston District has several projects that fall under WRDA, including the Charleston Harbor Post 45 Deepening Project and the Folly Beach Storm Damage Reduction Project."
After the subcommittee’s visit to SCPA’s headquarters for an update on the Post 45 Deepening Project, they were treated to a harbor tour of the port and a site visit to the Wando Welch terminal, which included a trip to the top of a container crane, a rare opportunity with a spectacular view of the harbor.
"The Post 45 project is one of the Corps’ largest projects," said Williams. "It is authorized by WRDA, so it was important for Rep. Graves to understand how the Port of Charleston functions and the impact that Post 45 will have on their day-to-day operations.
While in town, Graves also met with Mayor Tim Goodwin, City of Folly Beach, to see the Folly Beach Storm Damage Reduction Project that the Corps completed in 2014. Graves was given an overview of the effects that Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew had on Folly Beach as well as the impact that the Charleston Harbor jetties have on the beach. The tour ended at the Folly Beach County Park where Corps employees talked with Graves and Sanford about the possible use of the Folly River borrow site to execute an emergency renourishment to repair damages from two hurricanes.
"It was encouraging to see that level of local cooperation between the City of Folly Beach and the Corps," said Sanford. "Mayor Goodwin is relentless in his efforts to advocate for Folly and its beach, and I want to thank the Corps, the Mayor, and Rep. Graves for all of their hard work."
The last stop was a tour of the Cooper River Rediversion Project at St. Stephen to learn more about the dam, fish lift and the hydropower it provides as well as the project’s original intent to reduce sedimentation and dredging costs in Charleston Harbor.
"The Charleston Harbor links all three projects together," said Williams. "We wanted to show Rep. Graves all the projects that are connected to the Harbor, how they are related and the effect they have on each other.
Meeting with Graves allowed the Charleston District to showcase their involvement in some of the most influential projects in South Carolina. Graves left with an understanding of the Corps’ involvement in helping to advance water resources development throughout the state.