Appropriately enough, two days before Thanksgiving last week the good folks on Tangier Island got some welcome news: a long-awaited seawall and jetty project to protect the island’s main harbor will finally become a reality.
Flying out to Tangier to deliver the news personally was a passel of state and federal officials, including Gov. Bob McDonnell, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Col. Paul Olsen, Congressman Scott Rigell, Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Doug Domenech, and other state and local officials.
Remotely situated in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, Tangier Island is home to some 450 residents whose livelihoods depend upon catching fish, crabs, and oysters. The island has had serious erosion problems for decades. (Take a look at this interesting Washington Post graphic showing Tangier Island erosion over the past 150 years.) The seawall and jetty are aimed at protecting the channel that leads to the island’s harbor, helping to shield it from damaging waves and ice flows and reducing erosion that silts in the channel.