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Foundation Matters

Army Corps Peninsula Seawall Update

Posted: July 5, 2022

On June 10, the Chief of Engineers at the Department of the Army, signed the Charleston Peninsula Seawall report, an important milestone needed to move the next phase – Pre-construction Engineering and Design (PED). PED is the period during which detailed engineering, technical studies, and design are conducted by the Army Corps. Through numerous technical studies and models, PED will determine the exact wall alignment, what the wall will look like, precisely how tall it will be, impacts to historic resources, floodgate procedures, operations & maintenance, transportation impacts, etc. The PED process will allow the community to explore how the seawall will be appropriately integrated into Charleston’s historic urban fabric, while accomplishing the important goal of storm surge protection, and ultimately whether Charleston should move forward with the project. Through PED, Charleston will also get some important data that will be valuable to addressing our other flood risks.

Concurrently, Congress is working on its Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), legislation which authorizes key Army Corps projects and studies and makes them eligible for federal funding. With a signed Chief’s report, the Charleston seawall project was authorized in the House-passed WRDA bill. The Senate is working on its version, and the seawall is in the current bill language. Once the Senate passes its draft, the two bills will have to be reconciled before WRDA can be signed into law. We are optimistic that the seawall project will be included in the final package. Importantly, also included in both bills are provisions from the Shoreline Health Oversight, Restoration, Resilience and Enhancement (SHORRE) Act, legislation that aims to make our would communities more resilient to sea level rise. Inclusion of the SHORRE Act provisions is critical for Charleston, as it would allow the Corps to expand the scope of the project beyond surge to address stormwater and tidal management and encourage the Corps to do more for communities with environment justice concerns, which could help mitigate the city’s share of the project costs. HCF is grateful to Congressman Clyburn, Congresswoman Mace, and Senators Graham and Scott for their hard work to ensure inclusion of the seawall project and the SHORRE Act language in the WRDA package!

As an organization dedicated to protecting Charleston’s historic and cultural resources, HCF feels strongly that we should consider every possible option for its protection of Charleston from coastal and storm surge flooding. This project could serve as an important piece of the city’s efforts to protect the peninsula and adapt to a variety of flooding risks.

2 responses to “Army Corps Peninsula Seawall Update”

  1. Emil Bevacqua says:

    I think that is wonderful news. Preserve Charleston with every fiber know. I did visited and found the place to be one of the wonders of the East Coast. Keep up the good work

  2. Michele says:

    There are better ways to prevent flooding than putting up an unsightly concrete wall because Seawalls, along with bulkheads (vertical walls that retain soil but provide little protection from waves) and revetments (sloping structures on banks and cliffs) have long been the go-to defenses against coastal flooding.

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