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Third Grant Received for Whittaker Point Restoration
New grant brings total to $1.5 Million
December 4, 2018

riental received another grant this year for the restoration of Whittaker Point, bringing the total to three grants worth a combined $1.5 million. The newest grant, awarded in November, comes from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) via the NC Coastal Federation.

There are now multiple grants in play covering two projects: three grants for the Whittaker Point Restoration project and one grant for the Whittaker Creek Dredging project. It can be confusing. This story will explain what the grants are and what they are targeted to fund.

Whittaker Point is a spit of land acting as a barrier island in front of Whittaker Creek. The creek is home to residents, boatyards, and marinas. During the last several decades, the point has worn away, losing over 18 acres of land, and contributing to the silting in of the creek. Last year, the town began seeking grants to repair and restore the point.

While that was occurring, private business owners obtained a grant to dredge the Whittaker Creek Channel.

Fish and Wildlife Grant
A warning sign at Whittaker Point.

To date, the town has been awarded three grants for Whittaker Point restoration efforts: $916,406 from the Golden LEAF foundation, $200k from NC Department of Environmental Quality, and now $400k from NFWF.

NFWF awarded $1.1 million to the NC Coastal Federation for living shoreline projects. The Federation split the funds between Oriental and Atlantic, NC awarding $450k to Oriental. $50k of the $450k goes to the NC Coastal Federation for their work in administering the project. The remaining $400k will be used for the restoration of Whittaker Point.

The picture below depicts the proposed project, but is not the final, engineer-approved product.

Fish and Wildlife Grant
The proposed new footprint of Whittaker Point. Click for the larger image

The gray portions on the outside of the point are the proposed granite sills. The smaller, half circle shaped sills allow for the flow of water and marine life to and from the shoreline.

Beige blocks on the interior of Whittaker Point show where marsh grasses and oyster revetments will be placed.

The granite is expensive but necessary. “We’re gonna pay a million dollars to throw rocks in the river,” Town Manager Diane Miller said. “That is what it’s going to cost us to get it mined and brought here.” It comes down to the density of the rock, she said. Aggregate, as used along South Avenue, is not a good option. Hurricane Florence demonstrated this by pushing aggregate from the water onto South Avenue lawns. Granite is denser and will fare better, says Miller.

There is no set timeline, but the project will take place over several years. Miller says there are a lot of moving parts. An engineered plan must be submitted and approved by CAMA, the Coastal Area Management Act, under the Department of Coastal Management. The granite then needs to be mined, delivered, and placed.

Several phases of the project have to happen at specific times of the year: installation of the oyster beds, planting of marsh grasses, and the dredging of Whittaker Creek.

The dredging is a separate, grant-funded project requiring a matching amount. Miller is attempting to coordinate the dredging project to coincide with the restoration project to save funds on both. Dredging spoils can be used to fill the area between the existing land and the granite sill, she says, rather than paying to dump it at a spoil site on land. Miller has to obtain approval from CAMA before proceeding with that part of the plan.

The Whittaker Creek Dredging Project is still raising matching money. A grant for $218,744 requires a matching amount of $109,389. Residents and businesses have donated $77,215 as of November 21.

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Posted Tuesday December 4, 2018 by Allison DeWeese

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