EMERALD ISLAND – The Carteret County Beach Commission on Wednesday agreed by consensus to ask the county for help in securing sand from a planned dredging project in the waters near the US Coast Guard station at Emerald Isle.
The beach panel action came in a special meeting in the Emerald Isle Commissioners Board meeting room and virtually via Zoom.
Doug Huggett, acting director of the County Shore Protection Office, told the panel that while the US Army Corps of Engineers has long been carrying out maintenance dredging of the canal that leads from the guardhouse to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a plan is in progress to dredge an additional channel. for search and rescue vessels to use.
It looks like it can go up to 3-4 miles, so there could be a lot of dredging material to be placed on the beaches of western Emerald Isle if the project is not completed by a Side dredge, which simply throws material into the water next to the dredged area, Huggett added.
However, he said it is not yet clear what type of dredging vessel will be used, and the ACE would have options – perhaps cheaper – to remove any material dredged from the upland sites rather than on the beach.
Beach Commission Chairman Jim Normile of Emerald Isle agreed it would be wise to ask for sand for the eventual project.
âFree sand is good,â he said.
Mr. Normile also noted that the county had made good use of the sand that the ACE dredges regularly to maintain the channel of the NC port of Morehead City. This sand is deposited by pipeline on the beach at Fort Macon State Park and East Atlantic Beach at no cost to the city or state.
Even though Coast Guard station sand is not free, Mr Normile said there may be a cost-sharing option for using it on nearby beaches on Emerald Isle.
The goal, according to Huggett, would be to convince ACE to deposit the material on highland sites or simply toss it into the water would waste a valuable resource.
“We have to show that the beneficial use of this material is appropriate and necessary,” he said.
Beach commissioners questioned whether the sand in the proposed new channel to and from the resort would be of ‘beach quality’. Mr. Huggett, an engineer with the county’s beach engineering firm, Moffatt & Nichol, has a lot of experience with such projects in the area. He said if it wasn’t beach grade sand it couldn’t be used.
“I would be surprised if not,” he noted.
In the end, no member of the Beaches Commission disputed that it would be wise to pursue what could be loose sand.
âIt doesn’t hurt to ask,â Mr. Normile said.
The commission agreed to ask the county to consider the idea before a letter is sent to the CAE.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; send an e-mail to [email protected]; or follow us on Twitter @brichccnt.