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THE IM~RT~CE OF ~NSID=ING ~IRO~NT" EFFECTS IN THE DESIGN OF ENTRANCES TO PORTS AND HARBORS Scott McCreary The Conservation Foundation is principally a re~earab and communication organization. We are often engaged to carry out case studies, and from these we make recommendations for various agencies and re~earab organizations. I would like to take a similar line in this presentation, reviewing a number of case studier undertaken to inform and promote the integrated management of estuaries and wetlands. ~ want to suggest that at least one important dimension of port planning is the fact that the environmental consequences are a local planning issue, and one that ebould receive attention in the context of other important dimensions. The Ballona Wetlands An interesting case study is the bigotry of the Ballona wetlands, located in an unincorporated area of Orange County, California. The Ranab of Ballona, at the time some 14,000 acres in size, Is outlined on an 1888 map of California in Figure 1. It included about 2000 acres of what were then called Cla"~-4 lands, which means land" inundated by tidal action, or mostly wetlands and estuaries. In 1896, the marshland in this area extended to tbe Santa Monica Branch of the Santa Fe Railroad (as indicated in Figure 1~. In 1934, a project was undertaken to straighten and channelize the upper portion of Ballona Creek, but seaward of this project, the natural wetlands were still intact. Between 1930 and 1950, a number of oil rigs were located in the wetland area, as were a number of roads, an illustrated in Figure 2. More dramatic changes occurred in the early 1960s with the construction of Marina del Rev. _ . Fiqure 3 shows the first appearance of Karma eel Hey on a map made in 1962. An overview of the area as it appears today (Figure 4) indicates tbe course of the Ballona Creek Channel. Most of the wetlands remaining outside the boundaries of Marina del Rey are the property of the Summa Corporation, a division of Signal Oil Company. Of the original 2000 acres of wetlands, 120 acres are still what we might consider well-functioning and productive {Figure 5~. About 180 acres along the fringes of these areas are converted wetlands 141

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142 Figure 1. Ranch of Ballona, 1888. ~~ -. ~ Figure 2. Oil rigs and roads in Ballona wetlands, 1930-1950. ala.. ~ ,. ~ ,~ ~I : Figure 3. Construction of Marina del Rey Figure 4. Ballona wetlands today. in early 1960s. it= _ ~ 1 tell I_ - , = = e Figure 5. About 120 acres of original 2000 remain productive, well-functioning wetlands.

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143 that could easily be used for tidal action, but 215 acres along the edges could be restored to wetlands only with great difficulty. The alteration of the wetlands resulting from diking and filling for agricultural use and the construction of Marina del Rey left 120 acres of functioning wetland of the original 2000 acre-, a rather substantial effect. Figure 6 illustrates the area. Obviously, this area could only be restored with a major public works project that would itself affect the environment, and that would likely be costly. The County of Los Angeles has expressed some interest in restoring portions of the Marina del Rey area and the Ballona Wetland to tidal action. The county's local plans allow for designation of special ecological areas, and this designation has been proposed for the area. The proposal is incorporated in current efforts to carry out coastal plans in the Marina del Rey and Ballona wetland area. In 1972, the voters of the State of California enacted an initiative for coastal planning. This initiative produced the Coastal Act, passed by the California legislature in 1976. The act calls on local units of government to prepare coastal programs for their jurisdiction addressing the policies of the Coastal Act. The major port districts are also required to draw up local coastal programs, taking into account issues of environmentally sensitive habitats, public access, and effects on nearby bousing opportunities. The effect of this legislation has been to broaden consideration of port development beyond the design of the works themselves to take some of other larger planning issues into account. Marina del Rey is pictured in Figure 7. It is one of the largest marina facilities in southern California. I want to point out that Marina del Rey and the conversion of other components of the Ballona system is not an isolated event in California. Prior to the enactment of the coastal initiative in 1972, approximately 102,000 acres of wetlands and estuaries were removed from the original 197,000 acres of mambos, mud flats, bays, lagoons, alougbs, and estuaries. Of the remaining estuaries, 62 percent have been subjected to severe damage, 19 percent have suffered moderate damage, and in southern California alone, 75 percent of the wetlands have been destroyed. I do not imply that these alterations result from port construction, of course. The important point is that the history of wetland alteration must be taken into account when new port facilities are designed. There are few wetland resources left, especially in beavily populated areas. The intense pressures of urbanization are patent in Figure 8, an overview of the entire Ballona area. An organization known as Friends of Ballona, a citizen"' group bared in Los Angeles, teas been working with the California Coastal Commission to try to bring about restoration of Ballona Lagoon. Those efforts have stalled. The local government was to have completed a plan by the end of the year, but has only just completed the work program. . The Summa Corporation is contending in court that the work program gives inadequate attention to the potential for industrial development in this area.

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144 rS0 .~5~_ -~ ~..G it, am_ ~ X ~ ~ ;~ ~ ~ ~ ~ a> ~ ~ i, A ~ ~ . ~ ~ _ ~By.- .5 ~...... ~ ~ Figure 6. Heavily used areas of Ballona wetlands. it, 13~ ~ 11~1 1 ~ ~' 81 I__ ==~_ __ I__ ___ At= ' '' ' : ~3 Figure 7. Marina del Rey. Figure 8. Overview of Ballona area

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145 The Conservation Foundation has recommended that the entire wetland area be restored. We have made proposals that go beyond the designation of a special ecological area suggested by Los Angeles County; we called for the restoration program to address the entire ecological unit. The fate of both proposals in suspended until the local coastal program is completed. Beacb Erosion The waterfront of Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the Atlantic's largest ports, and clearly the hub of South Carolina's economy. In the 1930s, the port was protected by jetties. The construction work was preceded by an Army Corps of Engineers study, "Charleston Harbor Jetties,. stating that jetties usually affect neighboring shorelines above and below the harbor project itself for about a mile. The effects are often greater. Figure 9 shows Folly Beacb, South Carolina, one of a dozen barrier islands in the Carolina low country along the waterfront of Charleston County. It is the second island south of the entrance channel to Charleston Harbor, six miles away. Unlike Kiawa and Seabrook Islands, it is predominantly available to the public, and as Figure 9 indicates, there is public use of the beaches. The problem at Folly Beach is the erosion occuring at least since records were first kept in 1849. This erosion has been exacerbated by efforts to protect the harbor facility around Charleston. In Figure 10, the stairway down from the sea wall has lost a bit of its footing, but this is a rather minor problem compared to others that we see in this area. A number of attempts have been made to counteract the processes of erosion and beach recession, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers teas concluded that bad there been no efforts to control the erosion at Folly Beacb, the condition of the beach in the future would be essentially the same as it has been in the past. Essentially, the reflective character of shoreline structure" has furthered erosion on Folly Island. The graph In Figure 11 charts the substantial shoreline recession on Folly Island between 1849 and 1977. Approximately 560 acres of beach front have been lost from Folly Island since 1849, at an annual rate of about 5.9 feet a year. Erosion rates have accelerated in recent years. Along the reach illustrated in Figure 12, the erosion rate is close to 20 feet a year. The area i" in Bird Key, on the end of Folly Island. The Corps has proposed a program to restore Folly Island. In addition, citizens have solicited the assistance of the Conservation Foundation and Coastal Plains Regional Commission to develop a comprehensive plan for the shoreline.

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146 :l'~ ~h,,j: * ~ ~ ^ '=~ Figure 9. Public beach on barrier island, Figure 10. Folly Beach, South Carolina. FOLLY ISLAND ~ /, or 0_500 ~ >2 300 . con 2 \ / ! !. _ \ . : : ~ Amp ~, ~ ~ ,4 \ ~, a-'._,, '1 \ '-W. .o ,c 1 I 16 - 5 so \ ~ ~. as. 1~ -add ' \^,/ Figure 11. Shoreline recession at Folly Beach. ~.~ . ~:~ : _ ~ it.. _ ~ ~ _ Erosion at Folly Beach. - - - Figure 12. Erosion at Bird Key, end of Folly Island.

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147 Estuarine Systems The next case which I would like to consider briefly is that of the White Oak River in North Carolina, an estuary near Swansboro (Figure 131. In earlier days, the Swanaboro River discharged through the area. The causeway built for Highway 24 now occupies much of the inlet in Bogue Banks. The first major alteration to this area was the construction of the causeway itself. The original river extended approximately to the point marked. The second major modification is the Intracoastal Waterway. Water now flows east and west through the waterway rather than toward the ocean through the inlet, as it did previously. The arrows in Figure 13 indicate spoil islands in the Swansboro-White Oak estuary. It is thought the spoil islands tbemselves may be contributing to rapid shoaling and sedimentation of the upriver areas. That, of course, has not been proved, but it is an opinion that is widely held by people in the Swansboro area. Although the southeast bridge no longer crosses a usable channel, the northwest clearance is still passable by very small pleasure craft. There have been some very interesting side effects that are thought to be associated with the combination of the causeway construction, the construction of the Intracoastal Waterway, and dredge spoil disposal. Particularly hard hit has been the oyster fishery, which was never important commercially, but has always been important to the local population. It is thought that siltation and sedimentation have covered some of the oyster beds, and in areas of low turbidity, the oysters are stunted. One hypothesis is that the water temperature in the estuary has been lowered as a result of the rapid sedimentation and siltation. Another factor is that there is a rather sharp salinity gradient in the White Oak estuary. We find a range from 32 parts per thousand to 0 parts per thousand within just five miles. A curious aspect is that salinity is optimal for oyster growth at beds of stunted oysters. No one knows exactly what causes the stunted oyster". Similar problems have been reported by the long-term residents of the area involved in crabbing, shrimping, and mullet operations. Local citizens have been attempting to get the Corps of Engineers to take action on what they consider to be the cause of some of these problems, but the causes have not been unambiguously identified. The Isask Walton League has become concerned with the problems of this area, bringing them to the attention of Congress. A meeting was convened with an environmental mediator in which an agreement was reached between the towns and county, the Isask Walton League, and local fishermen to designate representatives for an advisory council to work with the Corps. The concept of environmental mediation is a relatively new one borrowed from labor arbitration. The idea is that in environmental disputes of several parties, tome parties with a genuine stake in the outcome should be encouraged to sit down at the table together, to

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148 - W WOZES~, my. JAC~SD~V/L~ -~ ___.% ~ ''art Figure 13. White Oak River estuary and surrounding area, North Carolina. _~ ..;- ( ~ . _=C~ _~^~-.~ ~ ~_ - ~ . ~.~ _ ^ ^ `~ ~3~ . . - . - Figure 14. Georgetown, near Winyah Bay, North Carolina. Figure 15. Winyah Bay.

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149 identify areas of agreement and disagreement, and to move toward consensus on a course of action. Winyah Bay, South Carolina, is a project in which the Conservation Foundation has recently been engaged. Winyah Bay supports Georgetown, which is a small maritime community of about 40,000 people, shown in Figure 14. Winyab Bay has been subject to shoaling problems as long as records have been kept. The watershed of Winyab Bay was one of the very first areas where tobacco and rice were planted. It also has the distinction of being one of the largest watersheds in the United States, draining about 18,000 square miles. Here again, it is appropriate to look beyond the port itself and consider what the causes are of the shoaling. In this case, the widespread agricultural use of the watershed is the predominant cause of shoaling, yet very little was done in either the distant or recent past to correct the attendant problems. Shoaling in many parts of the estuary is apparent in Figure 15, and can be seen in maps made long before any kind of human intervention. In 1896, the first steam dredging took place, and at this time, the area was shifting from the rice plantations that bad been important during the period of slavery to other uses. In 1926, a federal channel wan dredged through the lower reaches, but the upper area, as indicated in Figure 16, was still unchanged. In 1928, finally, a channel was dredged, about 18 miles in length. Several industrial proposals have been made for the Georgetown area. The earliest called for an enormous dredging project, turning basins and full port facilities. That concept gradually evolved into the suggestion that Georgetown would be more appropriate for industrial growth. Recently, there has been still another proposal for the area known as the Estherville Plantation (Figure 17~. In the 1930s, the dominant industry was paper companies. In 1970, Georgetown Steel was brought in, and this initiated more ambitious industrialization. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering proposals for this area now. One is to maintain the existing channel to Georgetown, which was indicated in the earlier photographs, at its 27-foot depth. Another is to dredge a deeper channel, 35 feet deep, that would require dredging to 47 feet, and allowing it to shoal in because of the rapid rates of shoaling. This last proposal would require an enormous amount of dredge-spoil disposal. Maintaining the original 27-foot channel requires dredging 2 million cubic yards a year. Dredging a new 35-foot channel would require disposing of 22 million cubic yards of dredge spoil. Figure 18 indicates some of the potential dredge-spoil disposal sites. It i" important to note that much of this estuary is bounded by marshes and wetlands. After this vast area is allocated for dredge-spoil disposal--and keep in mind we are talking about an 18-mile channel--many uses that would have been possible for this land will disappear.

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150 _e~ . . , v. . ~ - _ ==-~ ma_ 'I Figure 17. Estherville Plantation. Figure 16. Upper area of Winyah Bay. Figure 18. One proposal would deepen channels from 27' to 35'. Figure 19. Yawkey Wildlife Center. _ ,. ~to at, . . ~ ~q~. i WAIF L~ } . 1 . . _

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151 A new proposal that has been put together by the Carolina Refining and Distributing Company calls for the creation of a 30,000 barrel per day refinery in the vicinity of the Sampit River near Georgetown. The greatest threat that people perceive from the oil refinery is an oil spill. The vicinity of Estherville Plantation has seven rare, endangered, or threatened species, and includes eagle-nesting areas as well as habitats of red-cockaded woodpeckers, loggerhead turtles, alligators, and peregrine falcons. This has been a very significant source of concern. The Yawkey Wildlife Center manages approximately 3000 acres of land impounded for the propagation of waterfowl in this area (Figure 19~. The Corps of Engineers has taken a close look at all proposals, and has tried to work with national environmental groups to bring comprehensive planning to bear on the decisions to be made for Winyah Bay. Summary Many primary and secondary environmental effects are associated with port construction. Environmentalists, conservationists, or resource management agencies may raise some of these. There are as well the concerns of citizens who must live with the environmental and other consequences. These are factors to be considered with others in the design of entrances to ports and harbors. These groups should be considered in the exchange of information that informs decision making, and to that end, I would urge that you consider making a summary of your reports and other publications available to organizations suab as local planning agencies and citizens' groups. Additional efforts should be undertaken to enable all interested parties to make their knowledge and views known in an open and accessible process for port planning. This will not only enable interested groups to share the knowledge and views of others, but also enable the planning of ports and harbors to be better integrated with other aspects of coastal zone management and the management of natural resources. DISCUSSION MAGOON: You addressed primarily marsh developments that are internal to the coast. Have you thought about, say, the effects of harbors that might be built on islands offshore? MC CREARY: If we are talking about the Gulf Coast or the Atlantic Coast, we may well be talking about barrier islands. The Conservation Foundation has been involved in a number of studies and programs to manage barrier islands, and actually, to suggest better strategies. SAVILLE: I wonder if you weren't talking about the possibility of artificial islands constructed offshore?

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152 MAGOON: Really, I was just thinking that in your array of considerations, obviously one type of concept would be building port facilities offshore, rather than in or near wetlands. That would be an alternative that could be looked at. Obviously, as the dredging costs go up, perhaps it would become more attractive to go out offshore somewhat, and this could be one of the alternatives. MC CREARY: I think that could be a very appropriate suggestion. We have not considered it, mainly because we typically get involved where there is a real controversy or a real cause, and we have not been confronted with this sort of proposal. I think it would be very interesting to do that. BERTSCHE: A lot of these projects you get into come as a result of, say, local plans or the proposals of manufacturing interests, and yet on a national scale, clearly some of these things need to be done some place but not in my back yard. Is there a national direction on certain issues? For example, we may have to accept the loss of some marebes, come lands, in order to achieve a certain order of trade. Are we strictly limited to brush fires locally, or is there some national coordination of some of these decisions? MC CREARY: Most of our work does happen to be in the local case study area, but we always take the study or the project with the idea in mind that we are creating some sort of a model for a broader approach that can inform other areas and national policy. One of our biggest complaints is that we have a Coastal Zone Management Act that was enacted in 1972, yet it really does not deal very comprehensively at all with estuaries and wetlands. It ignores their watersheds which, as I have indicated, are a very real problem. To my mind, the best approach I have seen so far is that of the State of California, which has in its Coastal Act a eerie" of guidelines for constructing ports and harbors in wetlands. It addresses the idea of creating ports and harbors in degraded wetlands rather than in those that are productive. The act also speaks to the idea of restoration or compensation. In fact, there is an agency in California, the California Coastal Conservancy, that seeks to restore, and often would seek to restore an area Such as Ballona, next to an area that has been committed to marina development. Finally, the California program has recently come up with a set of wetland guidelines which I think are the best in the country right now and guide the construction of harbors, among many other projects. ~, ~.. , .~_ . ., ~ BERTSCHE: That may be a singular example, since the state owns three-guartere of the coast, and can readily set policies for its use. The problem on the East Coast is that many states, each state would have to have this individual -

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153 MC CRBARY: I think perhaps you are right, a regional perspective is warranted. Certainly each state has chosen a different approach to coastal zone management. Many of the southern states have not chosen to participate in federal programs at all. Others are much more limited in scope, compared to California, and lack the public support. WEBSTER: Do you ever get involved with the business of proposing sites? It always seems to me that you have difficulty in this process of selecting. MC CREARY: Many state agencies try to do industrial siting on a state or regional level, and the same approach might be appropriate for harbor and port siting. The approach is usually to go through an analysis of constraints and then select from among the areas that pass through all the screens. In our work, again, typically we are limited to alternatives within the scope of the project. In the case of Winyah Bay, I believe one of our recommendations is among the alternatives the Corps is now pondering, for a channel enlargement. ~ also believe that our recommendations might address alternative industries besides the refinery to bring jobs and economic growth to the Georgetown area.

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WORKSHOPS 1S5

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