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Whittaker Creek Dredging Fully Funded
Donation goal exceed
December 20, 2019

wo projects are taking place in the area of Whittaker Creek. One is a fully funded restoration of Whittaker Point, spearheaded by the town of Oriental and funded by private and state grants. The second is the Dredging of Whittaker Creek, a private venture begun by business owners along the creek.

The Friends of Whittaker Creek are Henry Frazer (Owner, Windward Ventures, Inc DBA Sailcraft Marina, Triton’s Cove Yacht Sales, and Whittaker Pointe Marina), John Deaton (Owner, Deaton Yacht Services, Inc.), and Michael Wynne (Treasurer of Whittaker Creek Yacht Owners Association, Inc.). Together, they submitted an application for a Shallow Draft Dredging Grant from the NC Department of Environmental Quality.

A group of business owners known as The Friends of Whittaker Creek (FoWC), applied for a dredging grant in 2019. However, there was a stipulation that the grant could had to be administered through a local governmental body. FoWC asked the Town of Oriental to act as administrator for the funds.

The town would have no control over how the monies were spent or even if the project was completed, they would only hold the money and disburse it. The FoWC would be solely responsible for the execution and completion of the project. In June 2017, the Board of Commissioners accepted.

Whittaker Creek Dredging Fund
Satellite view of Whittaker Creek.

FoWC received a grant for $218,744 on August 21, 2017. In order to receive the funds, they had to raise half the amount first: $109,372. The original grant would terminate in two years on June 30, 2019, whether or not the funds had been used.

Harbor WaterFronts Advisory Committee (HWFAC) Chairman, Lisa Thompson, is also the manager and dockmaster of Sea Harbor Yacht Club on Pierce Creek. She had the same grant (for a different amount) for the dredging of Pierce Creek in 2017, and knew first hand how the dredging-with-a-grant process worked.

Thompson saw an alert on Active Captain that Whittaker Creek was out of order for cruisers. Checking into the FoWC matching fund, she found there was nothing in the fund. If boats were getting the message that Whittaker Creek was effectively out of order, it would have a large impact on Oriental’s businesses and income.

Thompson consulted with Marsha Paplham, Chairman of the Tourism Board, and the two held a public presentation to get the word out about the grant matching requirements.

In July of 2018, they announced a town-wide dredging fundraiser, suggesting donation amounts of $6,000 per business and $400 per homeowner on Whittaker Creek. Non-creek living businesses and home owners were also encouraged to donate. Donors were recorded, and given a sign to post in their yard.

Whittaker Creek Dredging Fund
Whittaker Creek Dredging Donor Sign.

Hurricane Florence struck in September 2018, causing severe damage to the town, and setting back fundraising efforts; hurricane related repairs took priority.

Within a year, residents and businesses of Oriental donated more than enough to cover the matching portion of the grant. On August 22, 2019, the dredging fundraiser was fully funded, and exceeded the goal. It totaled $114,074.00.

The Town of Oriental hopes to use the dredging spoils from Whittaker Creek for the restoration project. To that end, the Town has approached Sea Harbour Yacht Club about leasing their dredge spoil site.

Sea Harbour Yacht Club stipulated the site must be returned to them in equal or better condition. This means before the site can be used, it must be cleared of some of the spoils from Sea Harbour’s 2017 dredge.

In mid-December, 2019, King Dredging Company of Beaufort was awarded the contract to clear the spoil site. They will begin after January 1, 2020. Bids for the dredging work will go out after, meaning Whittaker Creek will be dredged before the end of the dredging season in April 2020.

Related links to this story

Whittaker Creek Dredging Fund Donors
Whittaker Creek Dredging – Raising The $
Third Grant Received for Whittaker Creek Restoration
Oriental Receives $916,406 Grant
Whittaker Point Is Eroding

Posted Friday December 20, 2019 by Allison DeWeese

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