TANGIER ISLAND (AP)-A jetty and a seawall will be built to protect Tangier Island's harbor from erosion.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA) made the announcement on Tuesday. The 3-mile long island sits in the Chesapeake Bay and has been threatened by erosion and storm surges for years.
The cost of the project will be about $4.2 million, with the federal government paying for about $3.2 million and the state paying the rest. Construction is expected to be completed in 2017.
Much of the island's economy is dependent upon the harbor serving as a hub for commercial fishermen. The island has fewer than 500 residents and more than 125 of them are licensed commercial watermen. The dockside value of the seafood they landed last year was $3.4 million, state records show.
“The harbor is the economic heart of Tangier Island, and the center of a significant commercial fishing industry worth millions to Virginia’s economy. As Hurricane Sandy demonstrated all too clearly, it is critically important to protect the harbor with this barrier to clouding and coastal erosion. Also, this project will enable us, at the same time, to continue to preserve a culturally significant way of life that has changed little over centuries. Tangier Island is an important part of Virginia’s past and Virginia’s future. I applaud the Corps of Engineers with moving forward with this vital project," McDonnell stated.