Agreement reached on Crab Bank restoration project

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – An agreement has been reached for the Crab Bank restoration project. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Charleston Division announced that the Town of Mount Pleasant and SC Department of Natural Resources reached the agreement on Monday calling it a win-win for all parties.

The agreement shifts the footprint of Crab Bank roughly 1,400ft Southeast of its current location away from the mouth of Shem Creek which was one of the biggest requests for Mount Pleasant leaders and businesses.

Earlier versions of the proposal had it being built on the current Crab Bank location. Leaders hope the new proposal is a solution that benefits everyone.

“We got the best news this week that we’ve gotten in two and a half years,” says Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie.

“It’s a win-win for the environment and the economy,” says U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.

“And it came out that we have a solution that everybody’s happy with,” says Jeff Livasy, a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston Division.

The agreed proposal will create a 30-acre habitat for shorebirds to nest. Mount Pleasant leaders and business owners say without the shift in plans, the project could’ve crippled the vitality of the creek.

“Terrible effect on us,” says Cindy Tarvin, a co-owner of Tarvin’s Seafood on Shem Creek. “The boats couldn’t get out.”

“If it had been put too close to Shem Creek, there was a risk that our shrimp boats could not get in and out,” says Mayor Haynie.

Plans for the project will use materials from the Charleston Harbor deepening project. The original proposals were given a second look after concerns were raised. Livasy says The Corps of Engineers promised to reassess plans as construction got closer and says the shift makes more sense.

Due to the dynamic nature of the coast, there’s actually more shallow water to the southeast and so that’s going to allow them to actually build this from east to west,” says Livasy.

The goal all along among those involved has been to find a compromise and protect the environment and businesses who call Shem Creek home.

“The citizens, they want this,” says Livasy. “I mean they recognize the shorebirds are important, it’s part of what makes the Lowcountry the Lowcountry.”

A tug of war to find the best answer and solution. Officials say the project will cost roughly $200,000 and should last about 50 years.

“Even though it took two and a half years and our council never wavered, here we are today with the best possible news we could have,” says Mayor Haynie.

It’s a solution everyone can agree on and so life cruises on along Shem Creek.

“So, good news for our friends in Mount Pleasant, good news for the environment,” says Senator Graham.

“And that’s going to be helpful for the commercial fishing boats and the recreational boats,” says Tarvin.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is sponsoring the restoration project. Construction is expected to begin sometime in September and last a couple of months.