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NC - Scramble On For New Hanover Sand Money

More than a month has passed since New Hanover County’s beach towns were shocked to learn their longstanding shoreline maintenance projects did not receive federal funding, leaving them in a scramble to figure out how they may move forward with nourishing the beaches this fall.

“We are still trying to find out what happened and we’re working toward a remedy,” said Tim Buckland, New Hanover County intergovernmental affairs manager.

County and town officials have been elated at the news that beach nourishment projects in Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach were authorized under the Water Resources Development Act, or WRDA, which was included in a $1.4 trillion omnibus spending package former President Donald Trump signed into law Dec. 27, 2020.

After projects receive federal authorization, federal appropriations for the projects still have to be approved.

The omnibus spending bill included the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which doled out more than $53 million for operations and maintenance projects within the Corps’ Wilmington District.

The Corps delivered its fiscal 2021 Work Plan for the Army Civil Works program to Congress on Jan. 19. That plan does not include appropriations for New Hanover County’s beach nourishment projects.

“It was quite a surprise when the work plan was released,” Buckland said. “We went from elation to disappointment.”

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