Dredging needs of Hatteras Inlet discussed at Waterways Commission meeting

Published 7:15 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

Hatteras Inlet is clogged.

It was reported the 47-footer at the U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet cannot transit the inlet. The last day the 47-footer went out was around Jan. 24. The situation has been going on for almost four weeks.

U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet Chief John Matuska said to Dare County Waterways Commission the situation at Hatteras Inlet is “the worse I’ve dealt with in 19 years.”

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Brian Patteson, captain of the Stormy Petrel head boat, told the commission that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has done “minimum dredging in the last couple of months producing some inadequate results.”

Patteson said “it’s been pretty frustrating.”

At the commission meeting, a Corps of Engineers representative Brennan Dooley detailed the schedule of the sidecaster Merritt. On Feb. 14, the dredge was at Rudee Inlet. The schedule called for the Merritt to leave Rudee Inlet Feb. 20, then head to the Manns Harbor shipyard to repair a bent rudder. Unless other maintenance issues arise, the dredge is expected to spring free from the boatyard on Feb. 28 and be available the first week in March.

In North Carolina, “inlets are all the same . . . We can’t get to them all,” said Dooley.
As to the realignment of the Rollinson Channel, the federal authorization is still under review. North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality asked for additional time. National Marine Fisheries Service comments are due Feb. 28.

The realignment will designate the current horseshoe-shaped ferry route, Sloop Channel and the South Ferry Channel as the official federal route.

At the end of Sloop Channel, NCDOT Division 1 launched a “bucket and barge” operation. Sand was moved from the channel and taken to enhance dunes on NC 12 on Ocracoke.

A piling design for the Ocracoke Ferry Dock has been submitted. The pilings will be used by Corps or public-private dredges to tie up at night. Currently, when a dredge finishes Hatteras Inlet work for a day, the vessel travels to Hatteras Harbor for the night.

The memorandum of agreement between the State of North Carolina and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is finally signed. The signing was delayed due to a request from NCDOT to modify the agreement. The agreement was not in place from January to Feb. 11, when the agreement was finally signed. The commission was not notified of the requested modification.