ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A coalition of Intracoastal Waterway users who met last week in Savannah, Ga., have called upon Georgia's Congressional delegation to seek federal funds to correct hazardous navigation conditions throughout the state's 161-mile portion of the water highway, BoatU.S. reported in a recent release.
By unanimous vote, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association passed a resolution asking the state's Congressional members to request the necessary funds.
The action came after AIWA members reviewed a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report identifying no less than 27 hazardous shoals from Port Royal Sound, S.C. to Fernandina, Fla. The low tide depths at all 27 sites are seven feet or less, in a waterway required by law to be maintained at 12 feet. The channel is only two-and-a-half to three feet deep at six locations.
The steadily worsening situation came to a head recently when the U.S. Coast Guard expressed safety concerns to the Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for maintaining the waterway from Norfolk, Va., to Miami. While members of Congress in the other states (Florida, North and South Carolina and Virginia) have gained at least minimal funding over the past few years to maintain their portions of the waterway, Georgia's have not.
This is the resolution that was passed:
Resolution of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association
WHEREAS, The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association's mission is to support proper maintenance of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway throughout its entire length, including the waterway within the State of Georgia, and;
WHEREAS, The Waterway is a vital transportation artery along the Atlantic coast providing safe navigation for commercial and recreational vessels, and;
WHEREAS, The Waterway is an important economic engine for the region including the State of Georgia, and;
WHEREAS, The Waterway is authorized by the U.S. Congress to be maintained at a navigation depth of 12 feet deep at mean low water throughout its length including the waterway section within the State of Georgia, and;
WHEREAS, Twenty seven separate shoaling areas have been identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the waterway channel in the State of Georgia, and;
WHEREAS, This shoaling has reduced the depth of the channel to 4 feet mean low water or less in some sections of the Waterway in Georgia, and;
WHEREAS, The current controlling depth of the Waterway in the State of Georgia is 7.5 feet which is insufficient for commercial and larger recreational vessels, and;
WHEREAS, The United States Coast Guard has expressed concerns to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the dangerous shoaling conditions in the Waterway in Georgia, and;
WHEREAS, These reduced depths are causing unsafe navigation on the Georgia section of the waterway and reducing the economic viability of the region.
BE IT RESOLVED THAT, At the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association meeting held in Savannah, Georgia on December 15, 2005, the Association membership calls upon the Georgia Congressional delegation to seek full funding for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to perform the necessary maintenance dredging of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Georgia to rectify these shoaling conditions.
Adopted this 15th day of December, 2005 in Savannah, Georgia.
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