Goose Creek boat landing dredging delayed as county works to secure sites, permits

Shallow waters at low tide have been causing problems for boaters at Bushy Park Landing in Goose Creek for years.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:07 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:59 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Shallow waters at low tide have been causing problems for boaters at Bushy Park Landing in Goose Creek for years.

The funding for a dredging project was approved in 2014 through a penny sales tax in Berkeley County. Berkeley County Supervisor Johnny Cribb says it is an important project for public safety as well as the quality of life when people use the waterway.

“When there’s a distress call out on the water, people don’t care whether DNR gets to them first, whether the Coast Guard gets to on the sheriff’s office or volunteer fire department, every minute matters,” Cribb says. So us being able to get to folks is very important. Driving by on a normal day it’s not uncommon to see someone who doesn’t know that inlet very well stuck on mud for hours waiting for the tide to come back in.”

Cribb says Bushy Park Landing is the only saltwater access point in Berkeley County, so he knows it is important to people. The county continues to work towards a dredge of the inlet, but they say it is delayed because of complicated processes and permits.

Cribb explains, officials have been working to find access to a spoil site, where they can dump the dredged sand and mud from the bottom of the inlet. The county was denied access to a few private land options, and now is going to build its own spoil site on recently purchased county land. He says the county took a few years to explore all avenues, looking for the most cost-effective and nearby spoil site.

“So right now, we’re focused on the site that we actually own,” Cribb says. “We have title to 18 acres right next to the site and the county does. But you have to build a spoil site, you can’t just start to dump the material on the site, you have to build it.”

He says the county has $1.7 million dollars for the whole project. Now that they will build their own spoil site, it will cost more than originally planned, an additional $5.1 million.

Cribb says the added costs are built into the penny tax extension referendum on the ballot this fall. He explains, if the penny tax passes, the project will be funded, but if it does not, they may be delayed while searching for matching funds.

“So we will begin permitting and constructing a spoil site as soon as we know we have the funds and that depends on the 2022 penny referendum,” Cribb says. “It’s a $587 million referendum. Obviously, this is a very small portion of it, but to a lot of people it’s the most important part of the whole referendum.”

Cribb says if the penny referendum funding passes, he thinks the county will be able to build the spoil site in time to dredge in the fall of 2024. The dredging season is from November to March of each year and requires state permits. As someone who enjoys using the boat landing himself, Cribb says he, the county, elected officials and state agencies are working hard to keep the project moving forward at all times.

“My optimism is, I know we have a good plan to remedy this and we have people working really hard on it,” Cribb says. “But I share the frustration of the public. I mean I wish it would have I wish it would have been accomplished you know many years ago, I wish there wasn’t a kind of sidetrack moment where we were looking at another site. But all of that’s hindsight. We are relentlessly working on it to the point where we’ve hired a professional consultant who is absolutely an expert in helping guide us through this.”