Dare commissioners push ahead on dredging recommendations

Published 8:47 am Wednesday, March 31, 2021

On March 15, Dare County commissioners moved ahead on two of eight recommendations on dealing with dredge material.

Ken Willson with Coastal Protection Engineering shared the results of a study commissioned by Dare County. The study identifies short- and long-term alternatives to create additional capacity for dredge material in order to maintain federal and non-federal waterways.

The report first recommends pursuing permits for short-term alternatives, which the commissioners agreed to implement.

In the central project area including Oregon Inlet and northward, permits will be pursued to modify Island H, establish additional bird islands adjacent to Old House Channel, dredge Stumpy Point Harbor, obtain open water disposal in areas previously authorized, restore Green Island and authorize dredging of channels with the under-construction dredge named Miss Katie.

In the southern area, namely Hatteras Inlet and channels, permits will be sought for additional open water disposal for dredging Rollinson/Barney Slough/Sloop channels and for dredging channels with the Miss Katie.

This permit work is already included in the contract with Coastal Protection Engineering. Willson estimates that the permit work will take 14 to 18 months to complete.

Commissioners also selected the fourth recommendation which is to establish a Geographic Information System (GIS) for tracking dredge maintenance needs.

Willson explained that during the study’s needs assessment, a GIS was developed that includes historic dredge statistics and sediment, environmental bathymetric survey data along with concept alternatives. With that base, a protocol was developed to integrate the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey data.

Under the recommendation, the system will become a permanent part of the county’s planning information, allowing for rapid evaluation of current conditions. The county’s Information Technology department has the capability to address this recommendation.

The commissioners will also consider implementing the second recommendation: conduct sediment sampling of channels. Because historical data is insufficient, up to 59 vibracores are needed to support permit applications along with heavy metal testing. This recommendation will take four to six months to accomplish and cost $130,000.

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