East Coast Alerts

By Mel Neale

Jupiter Inlet, Florida, Dredging Operation
Thank goodness that Beaches need Nourishment and Sand Traps need Maintenance! Otherwise, “maintenance” dredging of Jupiter Inlet might not have been possible. But this small inlet serving the sport fishing and pleasure fleets just north of the Palm Beaches in South Florida will be dredged from now (early Feb) through March 15, 2005, 24/7, for the above stated purposes. (LNM 05/05, 7th District USCG)

North Carolina Small Inlet Shoaling
Last Alert (Jan. 27, 2005) we reported on the shoaling in several of the smaller ocean inlets in coastal North Carolina, which are NOT directly on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The USCG had announced that it would be removing channel markers in these inlets until dredging could be done by the USACE in three of the five small inlets (New River, New Topsail, and Lockwoods Folly Inlet). Carolina Beach Inlet would not receive funding for dredging and parts of Bogue Inlet are currently being dredged, but the stated purpose is not that of improving navigation. In the most current Local Notice from the 5th District USCG (LNM 05/05) the following additional information was given concerning another of the small ocean inlets, as well as for the much larger Oregon Inlet which is used by numerous transients as well as the local fishing fleet. The other information and cautions contained in our Jan 27, 2005 East Coast Alert remain current.

Copied from LNM 05/05, 5th USCG District:

Shallotte Inlet in the vicinity of LB 5 (LLNR 31075) (shoaling) to a depth of 5 feet MLW.

Oregon Inlet Channel shoaling exists between Oregon Inlet Buoy 4 (LLNR 27990) and Oregon Inlet Buoy 6 (LLNR 28003). A ACOE survey dated 26
January 2005 shows a minimum depth of 3.6 feet MLW in direct line from Buoy 4 to Buoy 5. Aids to navigation in Oregon Inlet are not marking best water.
Charts: 11542 & 11541.

It should be noted that the most recent USACE survey of Oregon Inlet has established a controlling depth of 11 feet and gives a waypoint route to avoid the above mentioned shoal. The waypoint route passes outside of markers “3” and “4” to avoid the ocean bar.

Rudee Inlet, Virginia, Dredged Again

This ocean inlet just south of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia fights a constant battle with shoaling. As of February 5, 2005, dredging is taking place in the inlet to restore adequate depths. This is the inlet used by the huge sport fishing fleet in Virginia Beach. It is also a popular stop for offshore transients (mostly fast powerboats) who wish to bypass parts of the AIWW. The usual route for these transients has them entering North Carolina via Oregon Inlet (see above) in order to avoid having to go all the way around the treacherous shoals at Cape Hatteras.

FY 2006 Budget Déjà Vu
The President’s 2006 budget contains only $860,000 for maintenance of the AIWW in North Carolina and is reported to be not enough for any dredging of the waterway channel. No funds have been allocated for maintenance and operations for the small coastal inlets (Lockwoods Folly, Bogue, Carolina Beach, New River and New Topsail), which connect the AIWW with the ocean, but are not actually a part of the AIWW.
The 2005 emergency allocations for coastal inlet dredging will keep New River and New Topsail Inlets open to the ocean for a total of about three months and Lockwoods Folly for about 6 months from the time of dredging. There was no 2005 money for dredging Carolina Beach or Bogue Inlets.

The 2004/2005 (FY 2005) emergency dredging of the AIWW channel at the inlet “Crossings” (places where an inlet channel intersects or crosses the AIWW) of Lockwood’s Folly, New River, Carolina Beach and at Snows Cut restored the channel depths to about 12 feet. However, those of us who have cruised up and down the AIWW over many years know that these areas need frequent routine maintenance dredging, which is not being funded for FY 2006.

Oregon Inlet will apparently receive adequate funding for FY 2006.

Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale