Dredging

Letter | North Myrtle Beach has done due diligence to protect environment of dredge site

March 15, 2014 

Re: March 6 letter from Roy Brown, “North Myrtle Beach needs to rethink Cherry Grove canal dredging plan”

Contrary to Mr. Brown’s assertion, dipper and clam shell dredging, which he also refers to as mechanical dredging, will not be used in the Cherry Grove canals dredging project. The method to be employed is hydraulic dredging. Hydraulic dredging sucks up the sediment and all accoutrements into a closed pipeline and the mix is then pumped into an approved, secure land-based disposal area. This method greatly reduces suspension of sediment in the water column.

Mr. Brown also stated that “much and perhaps all of the benthic life in the inlet may be affected or destroyed.” However, studies conducted after dredging of the DeBordieu Colony canal system in Georgetown County several years ago revealed that the population of benthic organisms recovered to pre-dredge numbers in about a year. These studies indicated that canals are rapidly re-colonized by marine organisms after a dredging event.

As required by Federal law, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coordinated its review of all aspects of this project with the public and with the following agencies: S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

All of these agencies agreed that the project met every applicable statute and regulation, and could be permitted after thorough review of all aspects of the endeavor to include extensive oyster and marsh mitigation provided by the City of North Myrtle Beach.

After several years of exhaustive review, the agencies failed to conclude that the environmental and health risks cited by Mr. Brown would accrue as a result of this project. That is why the City of North Myrtle Beach was issued a permit by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing the Cherry Grove canals dredging project.

The writer is public information officer for North Myrtle Beach.

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