Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Glynn Silt Solution Awaits Bush OK; THE GOAL the Project Would Restore the Natural Flow of Latham River by Breaching the Jekyll Island Causeway. FEDERAL MONEY the President Has Threatened to Veto What He Considers Pork-Barrel Spending

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Glynn Silt Solution Awaits Bush OK; THE GOAL the Project Would Restore the Natural Flow of Latham River by Breaching the Jekyll Island Causeway. FEDERAL MONEY the President Has Threatened to Veto What He Considers Pork-Barrel Spending

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORRISON

BRUNSWICK -- A project that could reduce silting problems in the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway in Glynn County may get stuck in the bureaucratic mud.

Funding for the project, which would restore the natural flow of Latham River by breaching and bridging the Jekyll Island causeway in two places, is included in the Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA.

The act awaits President Bush's signature. Bush has threatened a veto for what he considers a pork-laden bill.

The WRDA authorizes about $20 billion for use in water projects across the country. Georgia's portion comes to $127 million, with $6.2 million set aside for the Latham River restoration.

If the bill eventually becomes law and funds are appropriated, an additional $5.8 million will be needed from a state or local sponsor such as the Georgia Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources or even Glynn County, said Dan Parrott, chief of Civil Programs and Project Management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District.

With cash in hand, the Corps can undo the damage done when the causeway was constructed in the 1950s. That will include reconnecting the severed reaches of the river by trenching across the causeway, constructing bridges over the trenches and filling in a canal that was dug to provide an upstream link between Latham River and Jekyll Creek.

Jekyll Creek runs along the western side of the island, connecting St. Simons Sound with Jekyll Sound at the southern tip. It is part of the Intracoastal Waterway and is generally considered the worst stretch in Georgia.

At low tide, it is as shallow as two feet, far off the 12 feet the federal government guaranteed when the Intracoastal Waterway was built in 1919.

"The purpose of this project is environmental restoration," Parrott said, "but it will benefit the Intracoastal Waterway, too."

The project could reduce the need to dredge by 25 percent, he said.

"And it's a one-time deal. You do it one time and you get long-term gains," Parrot said.

Since federal funds for maintenance dredging dried up six years ago, Jekyll Creek has silted in to the point that it is impassable at low tide by larger boats. …

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