The Coast Guard and the Army Corps met Thursday with staff from federal and state congressional offices, local marina owners and the Prince William County Board of Supervisors to discuss the future of Neabsco Creek, following navigational concerns.
The meeting was part of an on-going effort amongst federal, state, and community partners to address the safety, commercial and recreational interests in Neabsco Creek.
According to USACE, Thursday’s discussion focused on the opportunities for private aids to navigation, the potential transfer of the two fixed aids, and dredging options funded by state or local governments.
The Corps reported that on March 30, 2018, two seasonal buoys were not re-established after the Coast Guard found the water depth too shallow to maintain them. Two other fixed aids to navigation that marked the entrance to the channel were converted to non-lateral aids identifying the area as shoal water until they could be completely removed.
The Neabsco Creek federal navigation channel is authorized to a depth of five feet, but results from a channel survey performed April 17 by the Army Corps show depths ranging from 1.4 feet to 4.9 feet along the centerline in most of the waterway. The Coast Guard is unable to maintain aids to navigation in the channel due to this shallow water.
USACE also said that they do not currently have federal funding for maintenance dredging of the area. State and local government entities are looking at the possibility of contributing funds for dredging.
“Federal funding is extremely competitive for maintenance dredging,” said Graham Mcallister, navigation section chief of Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District. “Dredging funds are prioritized based on commercial traffic and economic impact of the activity. We will continue discussions with our state and local partners on options and other funding sources that may be available for dredging.”
The two current fixed aids in Neabsco Creek could potentially be transferred to another government entity for use and maintenance.