In May 2018, the Virginia General Assembly established the Virginia Waterway Maintenance
Fund for the purpose of supporting shallow-draft dredging projects throughout the Commonwealth.
The source of the grant funds shall be the Virginia Waterway Maintenance Grant Fund. The Virginia Port Authority finds it necessary and in the public’s interest, and pursuant to its statutory responsibility, to establish the Virginia Waterway Maintenance Grant Program Guidelines.
The Kings Creek dredging project is one of the beneficiaries of this grant.
The Mirror contacted John Joeckel about the project. Mr. Joeckel is Chairman of the Eastern Shore Regional Navigable Waterways Committee and is leading the Kings Creek effort. He was able to provide much-needed background and details about the project.
From Mr. Joeckle:
Kings Creek is a state waterway/non-federal so the Army Corps of Engineers and federal funding is not applicable. This project is funded by the Waterway Maintenance Fund (WMF) administered by the Virginia Port Authority. We will be overseeing the project, not the Corps.
I wrote the WMF legislation in 2017 and Bloxom & Lewis pushed it thru the General Assembly in 2018. The fund initially was funded with $1.34 million, for the entire Commonwealth, so when you figure dredging projects today, few cost less than $2 million, so we couldn’t do much with that initial amount. But we did spend it on pre-dredging issues, e.g., hydraulic surveys, engineering drawings, disposal plans, permitting, etc., etc.
Since 2018 we have increased this fund to the current $4 million, again for the entire Commonwealth. The current budget negotiations in Richmond have this fund up to $7 million, but that may change during the budget conference negotiations.
We wanted to get this project done last year commencing right after Labor Day to avoid disruption of the beach season. Still, our contractors came back with bids far exceeding our grant award, so we had to defer commencement until this year, but that hinges on us getting another grant award to cover the anticipated increased cost.
So our intention, if we get the additional grant, is to commence right after Labor Day and finish no later than December 31st since between January and July we cannot dredge due to the aquaculture hatchery in Kings Creek, so we only have a window between the beach season and the aquaculture restriction, plus, the Kings Creek channel at its mouth is narrow and there will be some challenges between the dredge and the boat traffic.
The sediment has been sampled and tested and is beach quality. The sediment will be transported by pipeline from the dredge to the northern part of the public beach, there at the discharge outfall, the town will have their heavy equipment to spread the sediment around on the beach periodically. All this was agreed to last year with the town administration.
This sediment ( sand ) from Kings Creek will help keep the north end beach from disappearing!
Pumping sand from the bay/sea floor is how beaches are kept from total erosion. This works for sand pumped from dredged channels as well.
It will be brown sand for a number of years, but will eventually bleach out from the sun.
The slurried sand will be graded onto the beach . The channel will be deeper.
Thank you to Mr. Joeckel and his Eastern Shore Waterways Committee.
D. Luther says
I have a couple of questions for Mr. Joeckle.
1. Is there a diagram of the actual dredging for King’s Creek project and where the test samples were taken?
2. What are the results from these test sites
3. Who determines what is “beach quality” and can you list the material or elements that make up this beach quality for public use?
4. Is there a foul smell that comes with this dredging and it’s output?
5. Is this project just for King’s Creek marina or the entire waterway of King’s creek?
I can tell you, I had lived in King’s Creek Landing for three years. There is no beach quality material around there.
However, I wish the best for the town and hope this works. But I’m doubtful. I think it’s going to be a smelly Thanksgiving and Christmas for the town.
Yet It’s not my circus, not my monkey. But I’ll be watching for more laughs along the way.
J Wheaton says
Instead, how about the town purchases 1000 pallets of white play sand from Lowes? Please give it a rest, this is done up and down the coast.
“Is there a foul smell?” Did you really ask that? No, it smells like Coppertone suntan lotion.
D. Luther says
Wow a thousand pallets of sand? It comes up to about 2,800,000 lbs. Surely that’s enough sand. I bet it would be cheaper and cleaner. And Lowes also deliver!
Can you tell me how many of those places have man-made beaches that you mentioned?
Yes Mr. Wheaton, sand replenishment does occur up and down the coast with sand from the channels, not the creeks. And of course it will stinks just like the south end of the beach. The point is this sediment is not ideal for public use.
I seen it dumped on lots in Virginia Beach, sediment is used for back fill. And it will take years for it to settle. But if you think you can play on it the next summer. Go ahead.
I ask questions because I would like more information. Also because, no matter how ridiculous the question. The town will say, we never thought about that. You know, because the town council/ manager and now politicians don’t really think things through.
As one other commented about the hazards of Creek sediment. King’s Creek Landing used to be an airport. Surely nothing was ever dumped, spilled or any runoff into the creek. I mean afterall there weren’t as many restrictions back then.
Like I said in my other comment. Not my cirus, not my monkey. But I’ll be watching for more laughs. And if I’m wrong. Well you can ridicule me. I won’t be upset. I’m a big boy now. And I will always challenge anyone if I think they are wrong. That is my God given right.
Paul Plante says
Dear J Wheaton, Thomas Acquinas, or maybe it was Freud or Jung, said that every day, we should try, as a societal good deed, to help those less fortunate than ourselves, and here you come along as less fortunate one that I can do a good deed for by helping you get found when you are so obviously lost as you are here on this subject of dredging spoil, and this is with respect to your obviously and patently absurd statement “Please give it a rest, this is done up and down the coast.”
You are generalizing, J Wheaton, where generalizations cannot be made.
You are trying to say that ALL dredged material, no matter its origins, is the same as all other dredged material and that is a bizarre and unfounded statement, because what is being dredged in any given area is a function of where the material being dredged or needing dredging originated from.
In your scheme, all dredged material is beach sand because beaches eroded to put the sand where it needs dredging.
So in your scheme, where did the material that needs to be dredged from King’s Creek Landing come from, that it is beach sand?
Here’s what the WHIZ-BANG ROCKET SCIENTISTS at NOAA (they know everything there is to know about this so pay attention, J Wheaton) say about dredging, to wit:
Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies.
It is a routine necessity in waterways around the world because sedimentation—the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream—gradually fills channels and harbors.
Silt is not beach sand.
What is Dredging – History, Importance And Effects
The Marine Insight site informs us that in general terms, dredging implies digging up the gathered sediments from the seabed and disposing of them at some other site.
Sediments are not necessarily beach sand.
Dredging 101: What it is, How it Works, Benefits & More
GeoForm International tells dredging means the process of removing accumulated sediment from the bottom or banks of bodies of water, including rivers, lakes or streams.
Unlike what you are saying, J Wheaton, that accumulated sediment in one place is not the same as sediment somewhere else, and why would it be?
So you can’t say they are doing this up and down the coast, because you don’t have a clue as to what is being done up and down the coast, unless you personally have been to each site and did your own inspections with sieve analysis and chemical analysis, and so forth.
And just because some other town, perhaps with incompetent town leaders, or just plain fools in charge, is doing something, should Cape Charles automatically join the lemming rush and copy them?
The candid world that hangs on your every word would like to know!
J Wheaton says
In light of Mr. Joeckel comments you sound like a fool and unlike you, I understood what the project entailed.
Little difficult trying to call the shots from 400 miles away. Keeping up that streak of being sooo wrong.
Paul Plante says
J Wheaton, people all over the world, and the galaxy for that matter (there’s an alien mother ship hanging around out there according to the White House and we believe they are there to tune into J Wheaton and why not) love you because you are so you in a way nobody else could possibly be.
As to sand, J Wheaton, real scientists define it as unconsolidated (loose) grains of minerals and rock that are less than 2.1 mm (0.08 inch) but more than . 06 mm (0.006 inch) in diameter.
So anything that passes through the sieves in that range is considered “sand.”
I knew that a long time ago.
I also knew that anything below or above that is not sand.
I think I knew that in grade school, actually.
As to beach sand, there is no definition that is not subjective.
So once again, J Wheaton, I owe you a debt of gratitude for being someone I could help out just because, which serves to stack some positive karma in my pile as opposed to that other kind which accumulates and eventually rots the brain from the inside out as is happening right now with Joe Biden, poor deluded fool that he is.
Somebody should have told him a long time ago to change his ways while there was still time to save some of his brain, anyway, but alas, J Wheaton, alas for Joe that he didn’t listen or was never told in the first place, like I am taking time to tell you in here out of the goodness of my heart, because it makes me feel good about myself and all warm and squishy inside, as well, and isn’t that what life should really be about, J Wheaton?
John Joeckel says
Thank you for taking the time to ask questions concerning this project.
First, I do want to acknowledge the comments made by Tom, yes, the benefit to this project is that the Kings Creek channel will be kept at a depth for safe navigation continuing the ability of this waterway to contribute to the lifestyle and economy of Cape Charles, helping to keep the public beach from disappearing. And yes, beneficial use of dredge sediment for beach replenishment, mitigation of coastal erosion and flooding as well as habitat remediation has been ongoing for decades all across this nation.
#1: Yes, there are diagrams of the project area, unfortunately I cannot paste the diagram in this comment section.
You should be advised that most of the dredge area is at the mouth of the creek and outward well out into the Bay and consists of the existing navigable channel that has been previously permitted and marked with aids to navigation for decades. The dredge area terminates well before the marina and does not go further into the creek.
Alongside/adjacent to the channel to be dredged are five oyster and clam leases that have shellfish that subsist on the daily flowing sediment and flushing tidal waters. These shellfish adjacent to the channel are eventually consumed by the public and thus one would consider these edible shellfish are not feeding on toxic sediment or unclean water.
Some will recall that in 2015, the Cape Charles Harbor Channel was dredged with approximately 80,000 cubic yards of dredged sediment (estimated 2023 Kings Creek volume, 25,000 cubic yards) being placed on the Cape Charles public beach. Beach goers, town residents and visitors, for the past eight (8) years have enjoyed the benefits from the sediment dredged from the industrialized harbor channel to relax and swim. One can ponder what the public beach would look like today without the beach replenishment provided by that 2015 dredging.
#2 & #3: A geotechnical investigation was conducted along Kings Creek channel. Sediment cores were collected to the proposed dredging depth at six (6) locations along the length of the channel. Generally, the core samples revealed that the sediment is suitable for placement on the Cape Charles public beach. The average percentage of sand in the samples was 94.1%, while the average percentage of clay and silt was 5.9%. This sand is therefore suitable as a beneficial placement on the Cape Charles public beach and is very similar in composition when compared to the previously placed material from the 2015 dredging of the Cape Charles harbor channel. A small area just outside and in near proximity of the Kings Creek marina resulted in an analysis that reveals approximately 61% of a fine sandy matrix; however, since 39% of the sample was in the silt/clay fraction, it was determined not to be suitable for placement on the public beach, therefore there will be no dredging of that small area.
And yes, the sediment will be darker in color initially and as with the 2015 dredge sediment, will eventually bleach out with the sun.
#4: I would anticipate the “smell” being similar to whatever the “smell” was from the dredge sediment of 2015 which I do not recall hearing objections to at the time.
#5: See comments in #1.
As for the rest of the comments, I do not see validity based on the facts.
I hope this information will alleviate any fears concerning this vital and valid project for the benefit of the Town of Cape Charles.
D. Luther says
Thank you for this information. It does help me understand more about where the dredging will occur and will not. No dredging will actually occur in King’s Creek?
Is there a website I go can to see the detail location of the dredging?
John Joeckel says
As previously stated, the dredging terminates in near proximity of the marina, it does not go further into the head of the creek.
No there is no website, but if give me your email I can post/send you the diagram.
John Joeckel says
Or you can visit the Cape Charles town office and ask to see the file and I am relatively certain there would be a copy of the final permit which would have all the info on this project including diagrams.
Cape Charles Indian says
Anybody remember the crop duster that crashed In the middle of the creek back in the 70s.lost full load of pesticides in the creek. Parts of creek are closed to oystering part the year other parts year round to this day.
David Boyd says
I know nothing about the crop duster incident, but King’s Creek’s upper reaches are closed to shellfish harvest because of coliform bacteria levels, not pesticides.
D. Luther says
You understood what the project entailed?
Just amazing, and I also had the six winning numbers from last week’s lottery. But I decided not to play them.
Sediment from King’s Creek is of very poor quality, which a lot of us knew.
From reading the article, it states dredging of King’s Creek project. Which I believed, the waterways of King’s Creek which is also mentioned where one of the grants are for…Waterways.
Thanks to Mr. Joeckel, he informed me of the actual dredging sites, which to me clears up some issues.
However, when you dredge the bottom of any channel you can get anything!
Case in point, when I lived in Hampton, Va. They dredged the Channel and dump the sand on Buckroe Beach. Shortly afterward they closed the beach and called the Army in to clear the unexploded military shells/rounds that were dredge up. The live shells/rounds dated before the Civil War all the way up to the Korean War. And even today the are dredging up cannonballs at the Hampton Bridge tunnel.
I’m not the water dredging guru that you are, but I spent most of my life around the water and I know what happens when you dredge up creeks and channels.
I’m not sure what type of screens or filters system being used in this project. But I can tell you the CC beach is one of the most filthiest beaches I been on.
I have metal detected beaches from Delaware to Carolina and all points in between.
At Cape Charles Beach, before and after sand replenishment. I have found trash from pull tops, crab pots, hooks, broken rods and reels to broken glass. And yes, I had a tourist pull live Nato rounds from the sand. It’s not a clean beach.
Words can be twisted anyway you want to make a point. But unless you ask questions you’ll never know what’s going on in Cape Charles.