A $25 million investment has been proposed to help slow the erosion on Tangier Island. The investment would be used for a dredging project that would place dredged material from the Virginia part of the Chesapeake Bay onto the island. The project is not a done deal, but islanders hope it is soon. One of the main reasons islanders want it done quickly is because it's starting to affect the crabbing sheds.
"Our seas come in shore farther, and that's starting to encroach on top of the crab buildings that we have out here that sheds our soft shell crabs," said Norwood Evans, Tangier Islands Vice Mayor. "So any restoration work we can have done to help protect their inside harbor and all is a benefit for the waterman and the island itself."
The erosion is so bad in Canton Ridge, that areas where land used to be, are completely submerged. Wildlife have also been affected, as they've seen much of their habitats disappear over the last 20 years. Loss of habitat is just one of the reasons Vice Mayor Evans wants this project to move forward.
"It'll help build embankments up and stop the surge coming, and then it will also help with the turtles that nest in the area," said Evans.
Before anything can happen, however, the plan needs congressional approval.
"We're not there yet," said U.S Senator Tim Kaine. "I got to get it through the senate and then I got to rely on Congresswoman Luria on the house side, and we'll make this happen."
As of right now, there is no timetable for when the project could pass both the house and senate. Kaine and his office are hopeful that it happens sooner rather than later, but they say it's still up in the air.
$25 million is rounding error in the federal budget, so it would seem a reasonable request to save a historic community, although it would only benefit about 400 people directly.
But is this a problem? US election: The sinking island voting for Trump
Tangier Island is slowly disappearing due to erosion and rising water levels, but this US community of fishermen is putting its faith in a sea wall - and President Trump - to protect their homes, jobs and way of life.
Tangier voted 88.6% for Trump, 9.3% for Biden. Maybe in the next Congress?