For local residents, it can seem like the Oregon Inlet Saga is a never ending one. Several times a year we see articles about increased shoaling in our waterways. Those articles are followed by others about possible solutions, whether it is the short-term but necessary dredging, or longer-term options in the form of jetties. But the bottom line here is that our local economy depends on open access to deeper waters and addressing the problem of shoaling—whether through short term or long term solutions—is necessary to keep our shorelines productive and vibrant.
But as we all know, funding is a constant battle, even for the dredging that the Army Corps of Engineers has repeatedly done in the area. Once again, though, we may be seeing funding come down through Congress in order to proceed with dredging. That funding is on the table as part of the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill that is currently before Congress.
As reported in The Outer Banks Voice, this emergency legislation would provide more than $11 million to dredge multiple channels that are currently impassable to many vessels due to shoaling. Of that total, $9 million would be designated for both the outer and inner channels of Oregon Inlet and the other $2 million would be to clear the ferry channel between Hatteras and Ocracoke. If approved, these numbers would be a significant increase over the $1.3 million in President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal.
Funding for dredging work in the immediate future is certainly welcome news to our community. If approved, it would bring clear benefits for commercial fishing operations, shipping vessels, and ferries that serve both tourists and residents. But as we all know, dredging is the temporary solution as we continue to debate how to address this issue over the long-term.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, whose attorneys work out of offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, Eastern Shore Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service.