PRESS RELEASE 2/1/15
Beaufort, NC Community Tackles Shoaling Woes With Private Initiative
By Friends of Taylors Creek Access
The east end Taylors Creek channel, at Lennoxville Point, is an important waterway because it provides safe, quick access to all points east of Beaufort including Cape Lookout National Seashore, Carrot Island, Shackleford and Core Banks, Harkers Island and the Atlantic Ocean. The east channel is used frequently by small craft when conditions are unsafe to cross the inlet or to go out the inlet into the ocean. The National Park Service ferries and private tour boat concessionaires use the east channel when conditions are too rough to safely navigate the western Beaufort Inlet Channel that also leads to these areas.
Water depths in the channel vary each year due to the natural accretion and erosion of the sand that flows in and out with the tides. Until recently, federal funding existed for maintaining the eastern channel beyond the end of Taylors Creek but those funds are no longer available. Unfortunately an initiative to provide county funding for dredging and waterway projects was defeated by voters in the November 2014 countywide referendum removing the last possible source of public funds to keep the waterways open. With each incoming and outgoing tide, the channels continue to shoal and the water depths are so shallow now that all but the smallest boats are affected by the lack of water in the channel at high or low tide.
With the cut backs in federal funding for dredging coastal communities everywhere are seeking creative ways to keep local channels navigable for the convenience and safety of boaters. Private/public partnerships are fast becoming the only avenue for boating communities to address the shoaling of local channels. It has become clear that private action is needed to address the east end of Taylors Creek. A group of concerned individuals has started a private, nonprofit organization, Friends of Taylors Creek Access (FOTCA), to raise funds to maintain the east channel to the Corps of Engineers standards on an ongoing basis. This approach requires a collaboration of residents, boat owners, businesses and governmental entities including the town of Beaufort to fund an ongoing program of maintenance and stewardship to keep the channel safe and navigable.
There is grant funding available in 2015 for the project. The grant will come from the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources and will require 50% matching funds to be provided by FOTCA through fund raising efforts. If the community responds speedily with contributions it will be possible to have the channel dredged by the beginning of the 2015 boating season.
Make your donation today! Click on the DONATE button on any page of the FOTCA website. Your donation is tax deductible. The mailing address for FOTCA is 105 Taylors Creek Road, Beaufort, NC 28516. Contact FOTCA or like us on Facebook.
Can you tell me if there are going to be no wake zone signs posted to the end of the channel?
Hi Sam, Lenore Meadows here. Good question. I’ll put in a call or e-mail to the Coast Guard Officer at Fort Macon in charge of navigation aids and let you know what I find out. – LM