A decade’s worth of accumulated sediment in Hilton Head’s Harbour Town Marina, Baynard Cove Creek and Braddock Cove Creek created a navigational hazard for boats attempting to access these areas. To rectify the issue, the South Island Dredging Association applied for a permit from the Charleston District to dredge.
SIDA plans to dredge approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sediment and pump it via pipeline approximately 4,600 feet from the shoreline to a 56-acre site at the mouth of Calibogue Sound where the strong tidal currents and a dynamic environment will disperse it. The Charleston District frequently processes applications for dredging permits; however, the SIDA project differed from others as it included open-water disposal within in-shore waters.
“Open-water disposal, such as this one, has not been authorized for private use before in South Carolina,” said Robin Coller-Socha, project manager for the SIDA permit. “There was significant concern among the environmental resource agencies and regulatory community regarding the potential environmental impacts and the potential for setting a precedent for other projects. However, the strong tidal cycles and high-energy environment of Calibogue Sound make this an acceptable location for this type of disposal.”
The Charleston District issued the permit July 11th and, the following week, a press conference was held at the marina where Gov. Nikki Haley spoke about the project.
“This really was team South Carolina at work…you saw the Corps of Engineers, which was phenomenal to work with,” Haley said at a press conference at Harbour Town Yacht Club. “Everyone came together and said, ‘how do we get this done?’”
While the permit has been approved, there are a number of special conditions that came along with it to provide environmental protection, including a requirement for a $3 million performance bond to provide remediation if unauthorized activity occurs. A public website must be created prior to dredging and must be updated daily to keep the public informed. Special conditions are also included to provide protection for the West Indian manatee, which could enter the project during the warmer months of the year.
Through the entire six month project, which will begin in November, the Corps will be closely monitoring to guarantee it is in compliance with the conditions of the permit.