Mcintosh County has been awareded a $35,200 Coastal Incentive Grant for the "South Newport River Boat Launch and Shoreline Enhancement Project"which was arranged by Friends. There are wide local benefits, including increased public access to coastal natural resources and promotion of ecotourism, especially for the Coastal Salt Water Paddle Trail. A 10' by 40' floating dock will be built for boaters of all kinds and to help fishing and shrimping opportunities. On shore, an oyster shell recyling station will collect shells to be placed on the river bank to create new oyster reefs. Overall, the project will facilitate marsh scientific research, river restoration analyses, and rejuvenate the only family fishing and picnic site within many miles.
Beginning Fall 2012, the project is centered on improving public access to our salt water resources and stabilizing the eroded riverbank with new oyster beds and marsh grass. Near term plans include establishing an oyster shell collection station, applying for necessary permits, and documenting site conditions for future scientific analyses. By Spring 2013, the goal is to complete a 10’ by 40’ floating dock with a walkway and gangway accessible for people of all abilities. In addition to providing a stable platform for boaters and fishermen/shrimpers, the dock will have equipment to assist kayakers and others in getting into and out their boats. Then by late Spring, teams of volunteers will complete site landscaping, marsh grass planting, and placement of up to 3000 bags of oyster shells in the dock area. This oyster habitat enhancement will be timed to recruit oyster spat in the river resulting in improved water quality and new oyster bed structures highly beneficial to fish and water quality.
Total project cost is about $80,000 of which $10,000 in cash donations are required. We are very gratified by the $3000 recently donated by the Plum Creek Foundation which will be used to purchase paddle boat launching equipment attached to the floating dock. Please consider a contribution of $20 or more to help complete the matching grant needs. Kindly click on www.donate.net/splash.asp?dept_id=1204 .
As part of the project, we are establishing the South Newport Paddle Trail with interface to four other coastal access points. This trail will have the closest availability to route I-95 (one-half mile) on the entire underwrites our efforts to bring attention to the restoration needs in the watershed. The more people who come to appreciate the South Newport estuary, the more support there will be for action to restore its biologic functions.
We continue to interact with government agencies and independent conservation organizations to build a restoration partnership. Among the possibilities, the South Newport marsh land could be a significant salt water mitigation bank site. In the near term, the boat launch project will cause many new interested people and parties to have a new found relationship with the river.