MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The Army Corps of Engineers is deciding where to put material after it's dredged from the Charleston Harbor, and one spot they’re considering is Crab Bank Island.
The island is a bird sanctuary that sits in the harbor right off of Mount Pleasant. It was chosen because the Corps saw the renourishment of it as a potential beneficial use for the material, according to Sean McBride, a spokesperson with the Corps.
“We’re looking for the benefit of the bird sanctuary,” McBride said. “[But], we can’t do something that would cost more than just dumping the dredge material elsewhere.”
After hearing the possible plans, the town of Mount Pleasant hired Applied Technology and Management, Inc. (ATM) to look into the effects of this. The engineering company found the material should be dumped further southeast from where it was originally planned in order in order to protect the birds and the inlet.
It was found that under the original plan, the material could eventually erode and migrate. The material then could possibly block the inlet between the island and Patriots Point, making it non-navigable in as little as two years, according to the town’s mayor Will Haynie.
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.
“We have forwarded the ATM report to the Corps and look forward to their review," 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.”
The Army Corps has received the report.
“We have adjusted our model a few times based on conversations with the town,” McBride said.
On Tuesday night, the Shem Creek Task Force held a public meeting to discuss the Corps’ adjustments as well as to hear from the town’s consultant on where the material should be placed.