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Hatteras Inlet getting much-needed help

“We’re happy with what he’s doing,” said Steve Coulter, chair of the Dare County Waterways Commission and a charter boat captain out of Hatteras Inlet.

On Tuesday, July 28, Coulter said he no longer has to worry about running aground transiting Hatteras Inlet.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sidecaster Merritt has been slurping up a shoal blocking the South Ferry Channel in the inlet. Coulter said the Merritt will stay for another 12 to 14 days to work on the inlet.

At the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting on July 20, Dare’s commissioners launched another fix, albeit a long-term one, for Hatteras Inlet.

The commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to submit a request under Section 7001 of the 2014 Water Resources Reform and Development Act to change the federal authorization for Hatteras Inlet. The resolution calls for changing the wording to “follows best water” and including the three connector channels, Barney Slough, Sloop Channel and South Ferry Channel.

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act sets up an annual process of identifying proposals for projects within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers mission and authorities.

Brent Johnson, who serves as staff for the Dare County Waterways Commission, warned the commissioners that the change will take three to five years.

The commissioners also approved applying to the state’s shallow draft grant fund for funding for an administrative services contract with Coastal Protection Engineering for up to three maintenance events in Hatteras Inlet. The contract cost is $26,600. The grant will provide 75% of the cost, $19,950. Dare County is responsible for $6,650.

For another grant application to the shallow draft grant fund, Dare seeks project funding for Coastal Protection Engineering, which will provide the necessary permit modifications to allow the Private Partner Dredge and Dare County the ability to sidecast, over dredge to the same depth as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a widener for a high shoaling area in Oregon Inlet. The project aligns the Dare County permit with the Corps permit in Oregon Inlet. Total contract cost is $11,151 with grant contribution being $7,434.37. Dare County will be responsible for the remaining 33.33%, or $3,716.63.

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