The Oak Harbor City Council unanimously decided to pursue the middle-of-the-road option for environmental restoration efforts at the Oak Harbor Marina.
The option council members chose during a Jan. 5 meeting includes reduction of the footprint for the boat ramp, re-stacking of the shoreline armor — rocks and driftwood — and the addition of bio-retention cells.
Bio-retention cells are simply native plantings to reduce and filter stormwater runoff before it enters water near the parking lot.
The shoreline armor are the stacked rocks used to hold back the shoreline.
The option that council members chose means that the armor will be cleaned up and re-stacked instead of removing it completely, which would be better for fish habitat and the marine environment, according to the feasibility study.
The boat launch will be modified to decrease its size and increase its slope to benefit both drivers and the water alike; cars will not need to go so far into the water when launching boats.
City council members were previously presented with options that would see the creation of a pocket beach at Catalina Park along with shoreline armor removal, but they chose not to pursue it. Although the option would have likely positioned the project in better light for grant funding, it would have been more expensive by several hundred thousand dollars.
The pocket beach would require the existing gazebo and utility corridor to be moved and some of the park would be turned into a beach. Most of the council members were vocal in the dislike of the pocket beach.
“I think we would be losing too much valuable real estate by creating a pocket beach,” said Councilmember Jim Woessner, in agreement with other council members.
The option the council members chose will cost an estimated $600,000.