Material on a barge

A barge working in Atlantic Harbor loads dredged material onto a barge recently. (Carteret County Shore Protection Office photo)

ATLANTIC — The Atlantic Harbor dredging project is going “great” one week after it started, according to Greg Rudolph, manager of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office in Emerald Isle.

“As of today, we have about 3,000 cubic yards of (material) dredged out of the 8,000-cubic-yard target,” Mr. Rudolph said Tuesday.

The material so far has been coming “from the choke point (where boats have trouble navigating) by the dock and access road and extending out and including the entrance channel itself,” he added. “If we maintain our daily production rate, then we should comfortably complete the base dredging by the (Friday) May 15 regulatory stoppage date.”

The contractor for the project, T.D. Eure of Beaufort, began dredging April 14 using a vessel-borne “bucket” to scoop up the material and place it on a barge to haul to shore. The sediment will be temporarily placed on the adjacent White Point peninsula just offshore.

Normally, the work would have to have been complete by April 1, but the state, under the Coastal Area Management Ac permit needed for the project, gave the county an extra 45 days to complete the dredging.

The project is intended to make the crucial Down East harbor and its entrance channel safer and more usable for commercial fishermen and other boaters. Officials say it’s been needed, partly because of hurricanes and other storms, even though the county funded some emergency dredging a few years ago.

The project also includes construction of a living shoreline around White Point in Core Sound.

That involves placement of tons of granite and the planting of marine vegetation. The 1,720-linear-foot living shoreline will use about 9,545 tons of granite, with gaps left for wave attenuators, which are designed to limit wave energy into the harbor and further reduce erosion and siltation. The work isn’t supposed to start until summer, but Mr. Rudolph said Tuesday it might begin a bit earlier.

“Our contractor and engineers are already focused on the construction of the living shoreline, and that work may start in earnest before the end of the month or early May,” Mr. Rudolph said. “… We have a video conference meeting every week to ensure we address any issues that could otherwise sneak up on us, and to take care of small logistical items.”

The shoreline project is in conjunction with the N.C. Coastal Federation, which has built numerous large and small projects similar to this one. The federation promotes living shorelines because they create new habitat for oysters and other marine species. Oysters clean the water of pollutants as they feed and are a valuable seafood product. The state is pushing recovery of the oyster fishery.

The project contract is for $1,949,188. Much of the money is coming from a $1.1 million grant the federation received from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The state is also kicking in money, and the county’s share of the cost is expected to be about $200,000.

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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