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Next Generation Logistics Ready to Start Barden Inlet, NC Dredging Project

Posted on January 26, 2024

BARDEN INLET – Preparations continued this week for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ project to dredge Barden Inlet – inside the park and outside it – as more personnel and equipment arrived.

Cape Lookout National Seashore (CLNS) Superintendent Jeff West said Tuesday he doesn’t know exactly when the dredging will start, but it looks like it will be soon.

“They started mobilization on Jan. 2, and it has continued,” he said. “There are personnel boats, barges, dredge pipes, silt fences and one barge. The second barge is in Beaufort, and I think it’s getting ready for (a) shakedown (cruise) before they tow it over here.”

One barge is already in the water off CLNS.

West said he has not yet seen the bulldozers needed to spread the dredged material on the beach.

A large dredge is going to dredge the channel to the iconic lighthouse, and a smaller dredge will remove material elsewhere.

Dredged material suitable for beach placement will be deposited on the interior beach near National Park Service (NPS) structures, including the lighthouse. Once that is complete, the NPS will design a living shoreline to further protect this section of beach. Living shorelines allow for natural processes to take place but minimize the effects of waves.

A living shoreline uses rocks or shells, along with vegetation, and is an increasingly popular and often more effective erosion control method than seawalls.

The remaining dredged material will be strategically placed to create a habitat conducive to nesting shorebirds, aligning with the mission of preserving the natural ecosystem.

Fishermen and other boaters have been clamoring for the project for many years. The last time the inlet was dredged was in 1977-78, and significant shoaling has occurred since then, making passage to the seashore difficult for many years.

The project is a joint venture of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office, the National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The park service paid the corps $5 million, West said last year.

Next Generation Logistics got the contract for $6.9 million.

The federally maintained Barden Inlet includes not only the inlet, but also the “drain” and the “S turns.”

The dredging and beach nourishment must be completed before April 1. That’s partly because of the presence of sea turtles and manatees and endangered birds after that time. It’s not legal to put dredge spoils on islands when there are endangered birds there.

Shoaling in Barden Inlet became a major problem for boaters in late 2017.


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