City of Port Wentworth, Houlihan Boat Ramp Park, Modification to Existing Structures Savannah River, Chatham County, Georgia

This serves as notification from the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources of a request from the City of Port Wentworth for a Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) Permit under O.C.G.A. 12-5-280 et. seq. for a modification to an existing facility known as Houlihan Boat Ramp Park located in the 8th G.M.D. on Parcel B, in Port Wentworth, Chatham County, Georgia. The proposed project is less than a 1/10 of an acre, and therefore may be considered a minor alteration of coastal marshlands under O.C.G.A. 12-5-280 et. seq.

The Houlihan Boat ramp was originally constructed by the Department of Transportation in conjunction with Interstate 95. A Revocable License was issued to Chatham County April 14, 1995 authorizing those structures constructed by DOT to remain in place. On December 2, 2010, the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee (CMPC) issued CMPC #639. The permit authorized the construction and maintenance of a second service dock to be located between the existing boat ramps.  In addition, ten (10) diverter pilings were installed northeast of the most northern boat ramp.

The existing facility consists of two (2) service docks associated with two (2) boat ramps, a bank stabilization project and a wave attenuator. The northern ramp, Boat Ramp A, is approximately 95ft. X 25ft. The northern service dock consists of a 22ft. X 5ft. ramp that terminates on a 10ft. X 7ft. platform. A 35ft. X 5ft. aluminum ramp extends from the seaward side of the platform and provides access to a 60ft. X 8ft. floating dock. The wave attenuator positioned to the northeast of the Boat Ramp A consists of ten (10) diverter pilings with 10ft. X 2in. whalers. The southern boat ramp, Boat Ramp B, is approximately 95ft. X 25ft. and is serviced by a 46ft. X 8ft. fixed deck, a 6ft. X 5ft. bumpout with a 26ft. X 4ft. aluminum ramp that provides access to the 30ft. X 10ft. floating dock. The existing facility currently extends approximately 60ft. channelward into the river at the location where the Savannah River is approximately 1,000ft. wide at Mean Low Water (MLW). Total impacts within CMPA jurisdiction are approximately 14,003 sq.ft. (0.32 acre).

The proposed modification includes improvements to the two (2) existing boat ramps, the addition of rip-rap, and additional mooring space at the northern service dock. As proposed, the Boat Ramp A will be approximately 115ft. X 25ft. One (1) 20ft. X 8ft. float will be attached to the southern end of the existing 60ft. X 8ft. floating dock. An additional 12 cubic yards of rip rap will be added to the existing bank stabilization on the southeastern edge of the Boat Ramp A. The southern service dock will be removed and rip-rap will be installed in that location. As proposed, improvements to the Boat Ramp B will be approximately 135ft. X 25ft. with approximately 94 cubic yards of rip-rap installed immediately south of the newly realigned ramp. As proposed, impacts for the proposed modifications total approximately 3,744 square feet (0.085 acre). Total impact for existing and proposed structures total approximately 17,747 square feet (0.38 acres).

It is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate that the project is not contrary to the public interest and that no feasible alternative sites exist.  Impacts to coastal marshlands must be minimal in size.  In passing upon the application for permit, the Coastal Marshlands Protection Committee shall consider the public interest: (1) Whether or not unreasonably harmful obstruction to or alteration of the natural flow of navigational water within the affected area will arise as a result of the proposal; (2) Whether or not unreasonably harmful or increased erosion, shoaling of channels, or stagnant areas of water will be created; and (3) Whether or not the granting of a permit and the completion of the applicants proposal will unreasonably interfere with the conservation of fish, shrimp, oysters, crabs, clams, or other marine life, wildlife, or other resources, including but not limited to water and oxygen supply.

Please provide this office with substantive, project-specific comments as to why the proposed work should or should not proceed.  Comments and questions concerning this proposed project should be submitted in writing by the close of business November 21, 2019 to Deb Barreiro, Department of Natural Resources, 185 Richard Davis Drive, Suite 104, Richmond Hill, Georgia 31324.

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