ONLINE UPDATE: McIntyre commends Wrightsville Beach renourishment

by Kelly Corbett
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Congressman Mike McIntyre stopped by Wrightsville Beach during his trip along the North Carolina coast within his district to witness ongoing beach renourishment projects first hand.

The first stop on Thursday, April 24 was at Public Beach Access No. 24 where the previous weekend’s weather caused severe erosion on the beach strand.

Bob Keistler, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager, showed a map of the 2014 Wrightsville Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction project. Crews starting pumping on Wednesday, April 23, at noon.

Earlier Thursday morning, the corps was granted an extension of the environmental window for sea turtles through midnight May 31.

“We would like to finish before Memorial Day,” Keistler said.

McIntyre, who is soon retiring after 18 years serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, commended Wrightsville Beach’s renourishment efforts.

Wrightsville Beach has, and I kid you not, what we consider the gold standard of beach renourishment, and I’ve always said that not just here but at meetings in Washington,” McIntyre said, noting the $8 million in federal funds. “… You all have done a great job and we appreciate the example you have set, and we’re glad to be able to help you too. … We want to be able to share this beauty of the good Lord’s creation, and we want to be able to maintain it. That’s why it’s such an environmental treasure, but it’s also an economic engine.”

The second and final stop was Public Beach Access No. 31, where pipes were pumping sand and water and bulldozers were operating beyond orange fencing.

Keistler explained the process, saying that crews would keep traveling north on the beach strand moving pipes as they go, until they reach near the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort.

McIntyre has said in the past that every administration whether Democrat or Republican prioritizes areas other than the coast. On Thursday, he said it is a perpetual problem.

“It is a perpetual problem, because that’s why those of the coastal areas have to be ever vigilant,” McIntyre said. “There’s always a problem, because other representatives who are from inland areas of the country don’t understand the importance of beach renourishment, but we know if you spend a few hundred thousand dollars on the front side, you will save millions and millions on the back side after a hurricane or a storm. I don’t know of any other federal program that’s gives you a 320:1 ratio of return on investment. In other words, for every $1 spent on beach renourishment, it generates $320 in revenue. I have yet to find or hear of any other federal program that gives that kind of return.”

McIntyre left Wrightsville Beach and headed to Ocean Isle Beach to look at the beach renourishment.

“We’re going from Sunset Beach all the way to Surf City,” McIntyre said.

Afterward, Wrightsville Beach Mayor Bill Blair said McIntyre has done a lot for Wrightsville Beach and called him a friend of the town.

“Going forward, I think the beach renourishment dollars will be more difficult to secure,” Blair said, adding the town will have to work closely with the person who fills McIntyre’s seat to ensure continuity.

The full story will be printed Thursday, May 1.

email kelly@luminanews.com

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