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Discussions continue on how to protect, regulate mouth of Cape Fear River

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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- The Cape Fear River is both an environmental resource and an economic engine in our area.

A meeting today continued the discussion about how best to protect and regulate the mouth of the river and the area around it.

"We're all concerned about erosion and what the impacts of the channel are to the erosion on both sides of the inlet. Both on the Bald Head side and the Caswell Beach side," Caswell Beach Mayor Harry Simmons said.

Last year the legislature required the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission to perform a study to determine if action is needed to preserve and protect the Cape Fear River region. The way to do this is to create an Area of Environmental Concern, or AEC. An AEC is defined as an area of unique importance that may be susceptible to erosion or flooding.

"This effort would look at creating a new AEC that would take into account the uniqueness of the island's proximity to the Wilmington Harbor navigation channel, and some of the man made impacts, i.e. Erosion," Bald Head Island Shoreline Protection Manager Chris McCall said.

Simmons says he thinks it is a combination of things that cause the erosion.

"The way the channel is dredged, and when the channel is dredged has an impact," he said.

But McCall says what it really comes down to is being proactive when it comes to the protection of our coastline. He says after attending the meeting he thinks this project is on the right track.

"I think we're all focused on achieving the same end result, which is positive," McCall said.

The next step is a a draft report to the Costal Resources Commission next month. The public will have a chance to review it before a final report is drafted in November.

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