EMERALD ISLE — After months of discussion and planning, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to begin dredging Bogue Inlet.
The work could start as soon as Sunday along the Bogue Inlet “connecting channel,” the navigational thoroughfare linking the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, or AIWW, near the Cedar Point shoreline to and from Bogue Inlet proper.
According to the town of Emerald Isle website, “The dredging event is anticipated to take seven to 10 days to complete and the corps will use its sidecast dredge, the Merritt, to conduct the work.”
“(The) funding for this dredging cycle is being provided by the N.C. Division of Water Resources, via the Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund and a series of local governments, including Emerald Isle, Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, Carteret County, Swansboro and Onslow County,” the website continues.
Greg Rudolph, manager of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office, which put together the most recent of many packages from the local governments involved in Bogue Inlet dredging, said he is pleased it’s going to happen again.
“We have been discussing the potential of moving the connector channel towards Dudley Island (i.e., dredging along the deep water near Dudley Island and moving the aids to navigation, and that indeed is now the corps’ plan,)” he said in an email Thursday. “This makes sense from dredging efficiency standpoint and it will be important to get the word out that the collective ‘we’ are significantly changing the way boaters will access Bogue Inlet to and from the AIWW.”
“For the old guard, this is ‘back to the future,’ as this was the old route before,” Mr. Rudolph continued. “But for the newbies, it might be kind of alien to them.”
The work, the latest in a series of Bogue Inlet dredging projects funded by the state and local governments near the inlet, is necessary because of what Emerald Isle officials and Mr. Rudolph call “severe shoaling in the current channel alignment.”
As a result, the ACE will take advantage of naturally deep water and shift the alignment to the west, along the periphery of Dudley Island and closer to Bear Island.
“This in effect will constitute a significant “re-route” of the connecting channel, the Emerald Isle town website notes.
“Once dredging is complete and a final survey is performed, the U.S. Coast Guard intends to reposition all of the Aids to Navigation (ATONs) to the new channel alignment,” the website continues. “This means the U.S. Coast Guard will mark the new channel alignment and the old alignment will be devoid of any ATONs.”
To fund the project, Cape Carteret and Swansboro are pitching in $2,500 each. Onslow County is contributing $47,000 and Emerald Isle is giving $10,000. Carteret County will provide $35,000. There’s $80,000 in a separate account left over from a previous Bogue Inlet dredging project that will be leveraged, and North Carolina will provide $200,000, for a total of close to $380,000.
“Loosely speaking, the operating cost for the Merritt is $20,000/day, so ideally we will have a decent amount of reserve funding we can bank and augment for the next maintenance event, whenever that may be,” Mr. Rudolph said in his email Thursday.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.