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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