The Accomack County Board of Supervisors heard from Navigable Waters Committee John Joeckel at their Wednesday night meeting. Joeckel outlined Coast Guard plans to dismantle aids to navigation on the former Inland Waterway on the seaside. Joeckel said that the Coast Guard originally reviewed 241 buoys and now 166 will be discontinued, 52 will be kept based on additional information. 23 are being reevaluated. Joeckel said that he believes many of those will be retained.
Joeckel said that funds to remove the buoys have been coming in slowly and that the project could take a couple of years to complete. Joeckel said that while the overall budget for the Coast Guard has grown dollars for maintaining aids to navigation have not kept up.
Supervisor Donald Hart commented that he was concerned that removal of the aids to navigation will cause avoid those channels and they will fill in faster. Other discussion revolved around the fact that the barrier islands are moving westward causing the Intercoastal Waterway to fill in. Consensus was that efforts should be made to maintain navigable channels at Chincoteague, Wachapreague, Quinby, Willis Wharf and Oyster. The Quinby channel was already dredged and plans are to dredge Oyster in the near future.
The Board agreed to ask County Administrator Mike Mason to draft a letter to the Coast Guard reflecting the Board’s concerns.