The Army Corps of Engineers’ Wilmington District is accepting comments until March 6 on Dare County’s application to dredge year-round the federal project within Oregon Inlet and associated connecting channels.
The 2,500-acre project near Nags Head includes the waters between the southern tip of Bodie Island and the northern portion of Pea Island, the ocean bar channel extending offshore and the connecting channels and waters on the Pamlico Sound side of the existing Bonner Bridge, according to a public notice Monday from the Corps.
Comments received from the public, agencies and officials, Indian Tribes and other interested parties will be considered by the Corps to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. A public hearing on the application may be requested in writing. Submit comments to Josh Pelletier, Washington Regulatory Field Office, 2407 West Fifth St., Washington, N.C. 27889, at 910-251-4605.
Dare County states in its application the proposed action is to give the county the ability to operate year-round a yet-to-be-constructed, privately owned, special-purpose dredge in Oregon Inlet that is to follow current Corps maintenance practices within the inlet.
Maintenance dredging is currently performed by the Wilmington District dredge fleet and the county plans to operate under the 2004 Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI, to utilize the new dredge on a year-round basis at Oregon Inlet.
The annual volume of dredged material from the Oregon Inlet bar, as well as the connecting channels, is expected to be 900,000 and 1 million cubic yards. Nearshore disposal sites under this authorization would be the same as what is currently authorized by the Corps.
“The dredging conducted by the privately owned dredge would not replace dredging performed by the Corps dredge fleet; rather it would complement the Corps’ existing efforts,” states the public notice.
Related: Questions Arise Over Dredge Firm Selection In 2017, Dare County was allocated $15 million from the State’s Shallow Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Aquatic Weed Fund to provide a forgivable loan to a private partner for the purchase of a shallow draft hopper dredge that would be used by the Oregon Inlet Task Force, an advisory body appointed by the Dare County Commission.
The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest.