Reprinted from Carteret County News-Times
The final bill for Carteret County’s massive Atlantic Harbor improvement project Down East came in at a total of $2,199,910.23, including engineering fees, Carteret County Shore Protection Office Manager Greg Rudolph said Thursday.
That’s only slightly higher than the original $2.115 million budget set for the project. That’s close, Rudolph said, given that the project involved dredging and construction of a granite sill that is 1,700 feet long and used 9,545 tons of stone along White Point, a Core Sound land formation just outside the harbor.
The sill, which includes fish passageways and wave attenuators that are intended to further limit wave action that leads to sedimentation in the harbor, was funded by the North Carolina Coastal Federation, a Carteret County environmental organization that was interested in the project because the sill provides habitat for many marine species.
The federation was particularly interested in oyster habitat, because shellfish clean water of pollution as they feed and once provided many jobs for state watermen.
“It was hard,” Rudolph said, to know exactly how much granite would be needed for the sill.
“The total county cost at the end of the day is $247,820.83,” for the project, he added in an email. “We filed for our first reimbursements from the County and Coastal Federation back in June and they have been received.”
The federation is paying for roughly half of the project through a $1.1 million grant it obtained in 2018 from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to build living shorelines, which are considered by many to be an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to sea walls in combatting erosion and sedimentation. The state also chipped in money.
Rudolph early in the project estimated the county’s cost for the work would be about $200,000.
All that remains to do now is for the coastal federation to plant marsh vegetation along the constructed granite sill around White Point.
“Awesome project,” Rudolph said. “The Coastal Federation plans to plant in the spring when the survivability rate will be much improved. They have well over $150,000 to put towards this effort and we will be assisting them with logistics and whatever else they will need.”
The dredging portion of the project, completed in the spring, removed close to 8,000 cubic yards of silt material from the entrance channel to the harbor, which for many years has been crucial to Down East commercial fishermen and other boaters.
The county has an option with the overall contractor, T.D. Eure of Beaufort, to dredge the harbor itself, if necessary. Officials have not yet determined if that will be necessary.