Bill authorizing waterfront stabilization in Southport passes U.S. House of Representatives

An upgrade could be coming soon to the Southport Waterfront.
(Photo: Sydney Bouchelle/WWAY)

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — An upgrade could be coming soon to the Southport Waterfront.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2022 passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night. The bill authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out projects to protect and restore coastal shorelines and riverbanks from erosion and other damage.

Southport is specifically mentioned in the bill, which could help the city potentially repair riverbank erosion caused by boat traffic and prevent damage from future storms. Mayor Joe Pat Hatem says the main goal is to protect the shoreline from the next storm and to preserve it for generations to come.

“For Southport, we’re the downtown of Brunswick County and our waterfront is the crown jewel of our city,” Hatem said.

Congressman David Rouzer helped draft the bill as a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. Rouzer shared a statement that reads as follows.

“[The] passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022 is a critical win for the U.S. economy and our communities throughout North Carolina. This WRDA bill brings focus and priority to important projects in our state and throughout the country that will help to better protect families from flooding and includes initiatives to improve the strength and durability of our ports and inland waterways. This bill also includes federal support of beach renourishment projects in the district by funding the additional costs incurred on these projects caused by the re-interpretation of the Coastal Barrier Resource Act by the Biden Administration’s Department of Interior. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to help craft this important bill with critical input from my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  I especially want to thank Chairman DeFazio, Ranking Member Graves, and Subcommittee Chair Napolitano for their leadership and work to help ensure bi-partisan support and timely passage of this important bill.”

It’s a project that’s been in the works for years. Mayor Hatem says the waterfront is an economic and environmental resource. He thanks Congressman Rouzer, Senator Bill Rabon, and Representative Charlie Miller for their efforts. He says it feels good to see Southport getting support nationwide.

“It was one of the things I ran on in 2015. It was number one on my platform, waterfront stabIlization. For this to finally come to fruition makes all of us in Southport very happy,” Hatem said.

The bill will now go to the U.S. Senate for a final vote. To read more about the bipartisan bill, visit here.

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