Erosion Threatens Homes Along the Apalachicola River

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Butch Tharpe is a Liberty County native. He moved along the Apalachicola River in Bristol five years ago, hoping to retire there.

"It's nice here on the river, and we enjoy it. The family comes down and we all have a good time, spend the weekend."

But Tharpe's worried his retirement dreams may literally slide away, as the edge of the riverbank inches closer to his backdoor.

"It is kinda spooky because we enjoy it so much and we paid a lot of money for it. There's nothing you can do, just kind of worry about it. Pack up and move over, but if you do that then you're going to have the same problem in a few years later anyway."

Residents all along the riverbank say if something is not done soon to stop this erosion, it's only a matter of time before the river swallows their homes.

The county blames the US Army Corps of Engineers.

"I feel like by them dredging this river for years like they've done, trying to get where the barge traffic can travel up it, it's ruined this river."

Liberty County Commission Chairman Jim Johnson recently took a team of engineers to survey the damage.

But the county can't take much action because of sturgeon and mussel populations.

The commission has applied for several federal and state restoration grants, but so far, those requests have been been denied.

"We're trying to get money try to get the Corps of Engineers to help us repair this. Put some pilings up to keep from losing this boat landing and to save the land up this river here. We're trying our best to do something about it before it's too late."

For now, riverbank residents can only sit and wait.

"I hope we get some help. You know get in here and get it fixed and stopped because it's beautiful."


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  • by Bubba on Jun 7, 2011 at 01:51 PM
    Lived on a big river bend in south GA that looked a lot like the one in the picture, and lost several ancient live oaks to the river. The solution was brikbrak, countless dump trucks full of busted up concrete and building waste. No government involvement needed.
  • by Liberty County Resident on Jun 7, 2011 at 08:21 AM
    I am a Liberty County Resident and the government caused this. We didn't have this rapid erosion problem until the the GOVERNMENT no longer allows dredging in the river. The dredging would dig out the middle of the river and push it towards the banks which reduced the amount of erosion. So all of you people that are speaking without first hand knowledge shut up. We are trying to save the environment that the govenment screwed up on. Since the dredging ended just a few years ago we have lost 25 feet of river bank. This is widing the river which lowers the the depth of the river and is killing wildlife. So you see there is more to the story.
    • reply
      by GV on Jun 7, 2011 at 11:11 AM in reply to Liberty County Resident
      Sounds alot more natural than digging out the middle to control the flow.How natural is that?
  • by Parasite Location: Tallahassee on Jun 7, 2011 at 06:58 AM
    This comment has been deleted.
    • reply
      by Liberty County Resident on Jun 7, 2011 at 08:23 AM in reply to Parasite
      Why should you be allow to breath precious air that I could be breathing. You don't know the whole story. The government screwed this up and they need to fix it, bottom line. And you are right that is why the US in debt....always have to fix what they screwed up. Glad you understand that part of it.
  • by off course on Jun 7, 2011 at 06:40 AM
    wow, imagine that, natural erosion. If you choose to live on a river or beach,,,,take the natural consequences. Let your insurance pay for it,,,oh wait, my insurance pays for it too.
    • reply
      by Liberty County Resident on Jun 7, 2011 at 08:25 AM in reply to off course
      This is not natural erosion....this is government caused erosion so they should fix it. The gov stopped the dredging which would dig the sand from the middle of the river to the banks to slow down erosion and they stop the dredging so they have to fix what they caused now.
      • reply
        by off course on Jun 7, 2011 at 08:37 AM in reply to Liberty County Resident
        So you are one of the people who depend on the government for everything. use some common sense, nature takes back its own.
      • reply
        by GV on Jun 7, 2011 at 11:09 AM in reply to Liberty County Resident
        So it's not natural erosion because the river used to get natural dredging,huh?Natural dredging by the gov't huh?How natural is that?You know how stupid you sound?
      • reply
        by Duh on Jun 7, 2011 at 01:04 PM in reply to Liberty County Resident
        Okay, you just admitted everyone else's point. The government stopped the dredging, which you point out, pushed the middle of the river to the banks to slow down erosion. They didn't CAUSE the problem, they just stopped fixing YOUR problem. Why should I and other taxpayers have to fix YOUR erosion problem? Ever heard of a retaining wall? Yes, I mean YOU pay to have a retaining wall built on YOUR property!!! Get a grip...
  • by UhDoy!!! Location: Wakulla on Jun 7, 2011 at 06:19 AM
    Maybe people shouldnt build their estates on the river bank. Nature takes back what it calls its own. With the cost of river-front property these people have no place asking the county for help. If you can afford to buy a Porsche but cant afford to fix it when it breaks down...perhaps yous hould have bought something a little more in your price range. NOONE should be allowed to build that close to a river in the first place especially with all the b.s. zoning and environmental protection laws our officials arbitrarily enforce. I'd like to see these 'endangered properties' once again become part of the rivers banks.
  • by dog Location: gone on Jun 7, 2011 at 05:53 AM
    You can't fix STUPID. Nature always wins.
    • reply
      by Jethro Capital City, Fl. on Jun 7, 2011 at 06:20 AM in reply to dog
      Yessir! For sure and for certain!
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