Aransas County Navigation District (ACND) Chairman Malcolm Dieckow told commissioners at their regular meeting Monday, June 17 the district is facing some large shoreline protection/litigation projects, as identified by FEMA, and the 10 percent match for such federal funding will need to be paid by somebody.
“I wanted to put this on the agenda (so that everyone is aware of future expectations),” he said. “Hurricane Harvey was bad, but it could have been a lot worse.
“These projects, identified by FEMA, will cost millions of dollars. I think we need to find sources to pay the (10 percent) match.
“I’m not knocking FEMA (or any other funding source), but these projects need to be completely funded.”
The projects Dieckow is referencing include Leggett Channel breakwater, Rockport Harbor seawall and breakwater, the Blevins Channel breakwater, and work in Cove Harbor.
Harbor Master Keith Barrett, in a September 2018 meeting, said if all expected FEMA projects are funded, the ACND’s 10 percent match will be around $1 million. Referring to the Rockport Harbor seawall and breakwater, he said, “We have the opportunity to get these areas secured for the next 80 years.”
At Monday’s meeting, Barrett said people who have lived in the area many years see those breakwaters and seawalls (in Rockport and Fulton) and don’t really think about their true function.
“Each one plays a major role in the protection of our communities,” said Barrett.
He noted most of the structures are pretty old and have survived many hurricanes.
“I equate this to a15-round boxing match. We’ve made it through many rounds, but I’m worried about the next round,” he said.
He added there are many improvements being made in the county inland, but the ACND needs to look at where the bay meets the land.
Dieckow said, “We aren’t crying wolf. FEMA has identified these (mitigation) projects (that will provide increased protection during future hurricanes).
“I just think the 10 percent match shouldn’t be (paid) by local taxpayers.”
The state is one possible source for match funding, but no agreements are in writing.
Commissioners will discuss funding issues in greater detail in future meetings when more detailed plans for those major projects are available.