By November 1912, according to the terms and conditions of the Settlement Agreement made in 1906, the last of twelve deeds had been delivered by the State of Florida Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund (the State Cabinet) to the Florida canal company conveying in the aggregate more than one million acres of prime east coast land for dredging 268 miles of Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami.
Under the 1906 agreement, state legislators had given the canal company more time to finish the waterway and more state land if the canal company dredged an additional 30 miles north of St. Augustine to Jacksonville. In 1914, many stretches of the waterway had not been completed to state specifications. The state had required a canal five feet deep and fifty feet wide. In many cases, embankments as in this photograph slid back into the water, requiring remedial work.
At the same time, shippers, business and trade associations complained that the State should not have given the last of the twelve deeds for work that had not been completed or completed incorrectly. The photograph plainly shows a deficiency of retaining walls or their equivalent to keep dredged material from sliding back into the canal by 1914. Unfortunately, the State’s original specifications called for “maintenance” of completed work to be paid for out of toll money collected but little else in specifying precisely how the waterways were to be maintained.
Taken at sunset from the Lighthouse Marina at Sea Pines Plantation, one of the largest plantations on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, with several yachts docked awaiting the arrival of more marine vessels for Memorial Day festivities.
Beyond the marina, Calibogue Sound is one link in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the second largest sound on the Atlantic seaboard. Because no state on the Atlantic seaboard except the State of Florida funds a governmental entity to maintain the Waterway through its state, states like South Carolina must rely on federal funds and the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging and other operational maintenance.
For at least two decades, there has been a shortage in federal funds to maintain the Waterway. Fortunately, the State of Florida has the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) to pick up the slack. The rest of the states experience low water and damaged boats from a lack of dredging, particularly in stretches in and around Hilton Head.
Date Reported: May 30, 2014
AIWW Mile: 430.0
Reported by: Mike Ahart, News Editor
If the federal government won’t pay to maintain the ICW in South Carolina, and the State won’t help either, municipalities can either suffer the consequences or do something about it.
And that’s exactly what the members of the Charleston County Council did last night – they voted to pledge $500,000 in matching funds over the next two years to dredge and maintain the waterway, which they consider “an economic driver for our community.”
But isn’t that a mere shovelful of the estimated $5-million-plus needed just to fix a few trouble spots, much less regain and maintain a 12-foot MLW project depth for the 90 miles of ICW that run through the county?
“It’s a great starting point,” said Brad Pickel, Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA) Executive Director, who has championed this cause on every level of government. In February, the AIWA had ten meetings with Congressional members and staff to discuss the needs of the ICW from Virginia to Florida. Courtesy, Waterway Guide.