The Town of Oak Island will receive at least $1.1 million in state funding for the Town’s Lower Lockwood Folly Habitat Restoration Plan. The project will also put much-needed sand on the island’s west end.
The Town received notice of the tentative award from the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources Tuesday. It’s possible the Town could receive the remaining $600,000 of its request for state funding in October, once it’s clear how boat tax revenues are adding up for the state.
Town Manager Steve Foster said he was very pleased with the announcement. “I am excited for the property owners at the west end who have homes that are endangered. I certainly hope this project helps preserve that area.”
There are properties at the west end of Oak Island in serious need of beach nourishment, though adding sand to the beach is just one benefit of the project. Dredging will improve water flow and help restore the habitat in and around the lower Lockwood Folly River, including the Galloway Flats and the Eastern Channel. Improved water flow will benefit Oak Island’s estuarine areas for fish nurseries and nursery habitats.
Dredging will also help maintain the channel, and the project will also help preserve the dwindling number of clean shell fish waters in Brunswick County.
The next hurdle will be the permitting process and hiring a construction contractor. Mr. Foster said he hopes the project can be permitted and completed this winter.
Sand would be placed on Oak Island from between 42nd and 48th Place West to between 66th and 69th Place West, for a total of approximately 1.25 miles. The project will cost approximately $3.5 million. The Town will use $1.5 million from its beach fund and has requested $500,000 from Brunswick County.
“This project will not only benefit the Town and property owners but also Brunswick County and the State of North Carolina by providing wide, safe beaches for the public,” Foster said.