emerald isle — Carteret County has received the necessary state Division of Coastal Management permit to proceed with the dredging of Atlantic Harbor.
The Down East project, which also is to include construction of a living shoreline around White Point just outside the harbor, has been in the works for a few years, and according to Greg Rudolph, manager of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office, it has probably been needed for 15 to 20 years.
The county has asked contractors for bids for the project, and if three bids are submitted, they can be opened Friday, March 13. If fewer than three bids are received, the county must re-advertise for bids for one week, then can award the contract.
Mr. Rudolph expressed some confidence Wednesday there would be several bids.
“There has been some interest in the project by several contractors, so hopefully we get three bids so we don’t have to re-advertise, and receive a favorable, awardable bid at the end of it all,” he said. “We’re very thankful for the coastal management division (approval).”
If all goes as planned, the county will issue a notice to the winning bidder to start work Wednesday, April 1.
Mr. Rudolph said he’s excited about the project and anxious to get the problem solved for the folks who use the harbor. It’s been hard for fishermen and other boaters to get in and out of harbor for years, and Mr. Rudolph views the project as a permanent solution, because the living shoreline would protect the harbor from much of the energy of incoming waves.
The work consists of the maintenance dredging of the harbor and construction of a granite rock sill around White Point, where the 8,000 cubic yards of dredged material, plus vegetation, will be placed and planted.
The county is working with the N.C. Coastal Federation on the shoreline, which is to be about 1,720 linear feet.
Approximately 9,545 tons of granite will be placed around White Point, with 15-foot breaks every 200 feet to allow tidal flushing and fish passage.
Engineered wave attenuators will be installed on piles approximately 5 feet seaward of the fish passage breaks. A wave attenuator is typically placed around a marina, working as a protective shield against incoming waves. A majority of the wave energy is reflected back to sea, which lowers the wave height on the lee side.
The state permit requires the entrance channel and harbor basin dredge work be completed by a “bucket to barge system” and that turbidity curtains be used. The state also requires new lighting beacons and markings.
The harbor for many years was maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, but the funds dried up, according to Mr. Rudolph.
A large part of the money for the work – $1.1 million – is to come from a grant the N.C. Coastal Federation obtained from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 2018.
The federation has long been involved in efforts to improve the state’s oyster stock, and the organization views the project as a chance to solve a problem and create habitat with intertidal vegetation. Oysters attach to rocks, and the vegetation serves as habitat for juveniles of other marine species.
The federation approached the county a couple of years ago with the offer to help, so the county completely rethought what initially was envisioned strictly as a dredging project.
The state will also pitch in financially to help pay for the dredging. Mr. Rudolph has said if all goes as planned, the county will have to shell out about $200,000.
The goal is also to hire a local contractor, if possible.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.