Findings in crab bank report say dredging material should be moved southeast

A map shows how the crab bank has moved over time. (Source: Town of Mt. Pleasant)
A map shows how the crab bank has moved over time. (Source: Town of Mt. Pleasant)
Published: Jan. 17, 2019 at 5:26 PM EST
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MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - A January report on the potential impacts of the Crab Bank Island restoration project near Shem Creek suggests dredging material from Charleston Harbor should be moved further southeast.

Town officials are concerned about the Army Corps of Engineers proposed placement of the dredging material, which would erode and migrate over time, then threaten the creek channel.

RELATED: Full report by Applied Technology and Management Inc.

“We have forwarded the ATM report to the (Army) Corps and look forward to their review," Mt. Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie said. "Our goal is to work with the Corps to identify the plan that best preserves navigation within the Shem Creek Channel, while restoring, enhancing and maintaining Crab Bank as a major seabird and shorebird rookery.”

Under the current plan from the corps, the dredging material would make the channel between the Crab bank island and Patriots Point non-navigable within two years after the material is placed. In turn, this would possibly increase the risk of attachment of the island to the mainland which would then allow predators of the birds that live there to have easier access to them.

“Protecting Crab Bank is critical to the more than 5,000 seabirds, which nest on the island,” Councilman Jim Owens said. “Locating the dredge material in the appropriate location is paramount, as it will provide more high ground and a longer lifespan. It will help protect the Eastern Brown Pelican, the Royal Tern, Laughing Gull, Black Skimmer and American Oystercatcher from severe tidal over wash and human disturbance.”

The new report provides two alternatives which would reduce the risk of sediment accumulating in the Shem Creek Channel by 50 percent.

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