Tangier Island Fight for Jetty

Feb 18, 2016

After years of waiting for a jetty to protect their harbor, residents of Tangier Island thought the deal was done. Then came a rumor that Virginia's share of the cost was removed from the governor's budget. It turned out to be true.

Tangier Island relies on their harbor much the way Richmond relies on I-95. So when storms fill it in with sand the Army Corps of Engineers dredge it, making it safe for the ferries that bring tourists, and for the watermen who make their living on the Chesapeake Bay. After a three year study the Corps said it would save money if they built a jetty to stop the sand from coming in.


“Right now, when we get those northwest winds and storms our boats are not even safe in that harbor any more and this jetty is going to make it safer.”


That's Tangier town manager, Renee Tyler. She said the governor put Virginia's share of the jetty, about $250,000, into his budget. Then, the vice chairman of the house appropriations committee took it out. Del. Steve Landes said in a written statement that said Tangier will have a hearing to prove they need the jetty.


  “We finally feel like something's happening, we finally get this little hope again, and now it's squashed.”


To get to Richmond from an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay is no small feat. Besides hours of driving, the town will have to hire a boat to leave early the morning of the hearing, then hire a boat home that evening.


“Which I guess will be like $600 or $700. Whatever we have to do to make them listen or at least hear us.”


Tangier Island residents won't be alone in their pilgrimage to Richmond. Delegate Landes has cut more than $120 million from the 2017-2018 budget.