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Oregon Inlet: ‘It needs a jetty’

A jetty for Oregon Inlet is back on the Dare County Board of Commissioners table.

On Monday, March 18, a resolution was introduced supporting terminal groins and jetties.

Chairman Robert L. Woodard introduced the page-and-half resolution on behalf of vice chairman Wally Overman, who was attending an out-of-county meeting regarding the Dare County Airport.

Woodard moved for adoption of the resolution as presented. Commissioner Rob Ross seconded the motion.

As presented, the resolution asks state and federal representatives to support construction of terminal groins and jetties along the entire coast of North Carolina and “to work collaboratively to introduce legislation that will provide for the long-term in stabilization that is so desperately needed at Oregon Inlet including, but not limited to, the transfer of property from the National Park Service required to anchor the jetty system.”

Commissioner Jim Tobin objected to using terminal groins. He argued that terminal groins keep land in place, as has been the case with the southern side of Oregon Inlet, and that a terminal groin would not work on the north side of the inlet.

“I want to discuss this more,” said Tobin. “We need to ask specifically for what we want.”

Tobin moved to strike the terminal groin language and delete the “Whereas” paragraph about the 1970 legislation authorizing a dual jetty system. Commissioner Steve House seconded the motion.

The idea of tabling the motion until Overman returned was introduced into the discussion. The amendment and motion and seconds were withdrawn.

The item is to be calendared to the next meeting, April 1 at 9 a.m.

Jetties for Oregon Inlet have long been advocated by preceding boards of commissioners and Oregon Inlet users. Seven times over the years, the Dare Board of Commissioners has adopted supporting resolutions.

Congress authorized the dual jetty system in 1970. Multiple visits by state and congressional delegations occurred.

The issue culminated on May 1, 2003 when the Council on Environmental Quality rejected the 2001 design proposed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service expressed concern. NOAA Fisheries took the battle forward to a formal consultation. The design called for a weir to allow the passage of sand to a deposition basis and larvae and juvenile fish into Oregon Inlet. NOAA fisheries argument prevailed, that the system would reduce the recruitment of larvae and juvenile fish into the Pamlico Sound.

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