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‘Critical Harbor of Refuge’ status for Broad Creek

by Larry S. Chowning

imageMiddlesex County Administrator Charles Culley has been authorized to make a formal request to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to have Broad Creek in Deltaville be considered as a “Critical Harbor of Refuge.”

The Middlesex County Board of Supervisors approved the action at its meeting on Jan. 6.

A Critical Harbor of Refuge is a harbor considered a safe haven in which mariners can moor in the event of foul weather. In 2004, Broad Creek was considered for this designation, but it was not placed on the list, said Culley.

Designation may help creek dredging efforts.
The creek is located near the mouth of the Rappahannock River where vessels enter and leave the Chesapeake Bay. In a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, Culley wrote, “Given the location of Broad Creek on the Bay, it is probably one of the most accessible harbors in the area in the event of bad storms.”

The narrow mouth of Broad Creek on the Rappahannock River is filling in and this has created problems for incoming and outgoing boat traffic. The creek is the busiest harbor in the county. It has 13 marinas and over 2,000 boats moored there. It was first dredged in 1939 and has been dredged several times since.

$350,000 cost

The Army Corps of Engineers set aside $350,000 for engineering of the project. However, supervisor Fred Crittenden remarked, “I haven’t seen a thing happening down there.”

Culley said the $350,000 is being used to determine how the creek is going to be dredged. “We need another $670,000 before dredging can start,” he added.

Crittenden said the county needs to find out what’s been accomplished with the $350,000, and what’s left to be done. “Broad Creek is critical to the economy of Middlesex County,” he said. “Here we have one of the most important resources in our county and people can’t get to it.”

In his letter to the Corps, Culley wrote, “Please accept this letter as a formal request from the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors to begin an analysis of Broad Creek as a Critical Harbor of Refuge. Our offices stand ready to assist in obtaining usage data or other information that may be needed by the Corps.”

Other Business

In other matters on Jan. 6, the board:

  • Learned from Crittenden that seven hangars recently built at Hummel Field have been rented. There are a total of 10 county-owned hangars there.
  • Voted to have supervisor Jack Miller replace David Harmon on the Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck Community Services Board. Harmon requested not to be reappointed.
  • Voted to elect Gordon White to replace the late Bob Gary on the Industrial Development Authority, provided White is interested in taking the position.
  • Voted to transfer a contract with MarshWitt Associates to complete the new Middlesex Comprehensive Plan. TMH Associates of Yorktown has acquired the planning division of MarshWitt Associates and needs the county’s approval to transfer the contract.
  • Voted to approve a request from Carlton Revere, the citizen’s representative on the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (PDC), that the PDC continue to study a regional real estate reassessment program.

    posted 01.15.2009

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