State News

Perdue: Coast Guard to close Oregon Inlet

Posted April 11, 2011

The Herbert C. Bonner Bridge spans Oregon Inlet to connect Hatteras Island with the mainland.

— The U.S. Coast Guard this week will declare Oregon Inlet impassable for commercial fishing vessels, Gov. Beverly Perdue said Monday.

Perdue flew over the coastal inlet to see firsthand how shoaling sand has affected the waterway. People who have plied the waters for years say areas that used to be 20 to 30 feet deep now reach a depth of only 9 feet.

Shifting sands, an aging bridge and federal funding cuts are already forcing commercial fishermen to bypass Oregon Inlet and take their catches to neighboring Virginia.

"This is a major artery, and if we don't get a private dredge in here soon, we're going to lose our commercial fishing," Perdue said. "We're dead in the water."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is dredging the inlet daily, but it doesn't have the money to keep the Outer Banks channel at its congressionally authorized 14-foot depth by Bonner Bridge.

"They've done a great job of keeping a mess operable for us," said Billy Maxwell, captain of the commercial fishing vessel "Tuna Fever."

Perdue: Coast Guard to close Oregon Inlet Perdue: Coast Guard to close Oregon Inlet

The Corps of Engineers estimates that restoring the inlet to at least 14 feet deep – and keeping it that way – would cost $20 million. The next federal budget allocates only $1 million to the project.

Perdue said North Carolina is willing to chip in money to keep the Oregon Inlet open to commercial boat traffic, but federal officials have told her the earliest they could get a second dredge to the Outer Banks is in June.

Mikey Daniels, the owner of Wanchese Fish Co., said he normally would have 20 to 30 commercial fishing boats unloading their catch at his dock, but the dock was empty Monday morning.

"I've got two boats that never landed here, never came home because of the inlet," Daniels said.

The governor's office says the Outer Banks region and the state could lose about $700 million a year if the inlet is closed.

"It would foul us up bad. It would take away from the community as a whole," Maxwell said. "It's bad for the motels. It's bad for the restaurants. It's bad for all of it."

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  • Vietnam Vet Apr 12, 2011

    The state can't even get our tax refunds out because of no money in state coffers, where does Bev think she's going to get the cash to help pay for the dredging??

  • pappybigtuna1 Apr 12, 2011

    Think Bev Perdue will need to go to Hawaii for two weeks to study the Pacific Ocean and the effects on the land and inlets. And since she is that far over there she could do a investigative view of Tahiti get get jobs for the Tax payers of NC. Followed by a breif stay in Australia for R&R. Go and be well Bev

  • buzzbrenda Apr 12, 2011

    Maybe we could borrow some of the money back from Brazil that we gave them to drill for oil !!

  • btneast Apr 12, 2011

    Concerning diving in Oregon Inlet, that water moves way too fast to dive in safely.

    Yes it does, boats have trouble holding anchor. You would be swept out to sea in minutes. That is the only inlet for miles and miles of water to flow in and out of for tidal movement.

  • cwood3 Apr 12, 2011

    Jenny-many piers have closed thanks to multi million dollar offers from developers. Several are still there-but less than half from 15 years ago. I almost forgot-the state is building one-another boondoggle for NC.

    Geosol-what is your problem?? I've watched many libs write on this blog-but few are as hateful and resentful of Republicans
    as you appear to be.

    Concerning spending-yes-we need to close some loop holes-you are correct. However, if we tax some folks too much, they will simply pull up stakes and move their residence to Switzerland or Jamaca. Then, we get nothing.

    Concerning our country's finances Geosol, do we continue to give nearly 50% a tax break of NONE? Excuse me-everybody needs to contribute something-even those with little. Or we could continue on President Obama's path-and drive this country right off the cliff. Is that ok with you??

    Concerning diving in Oregon Inlet, that water moves way too fast to dive in safely. Just fish it-cause it's loaded!

  • same ole story Apr 12, 2011

    The governor's office says the Outer Banks region and the state could lose about $700 million a year if the inlet is closed.
    The Corps of Engineers estimates that restoring the inlet to at least 14 feet deep – and keeping it that way – would cost $20 million
    Well if you do the math it is a no brainer!!! Oh sorry we are talking about Bev here..... Thats the problem!!!!!

  • smegma Apr 12, 2011

    so why give 1 million if it costs 20?

  • OzzzMan Apr 12, 2011

    The Government will probably give UNC Wilmington a $100m grant to research why the inlet keeps closing.

  • x Apr 11, 2011

    We gotta quit trying to legislate Mother Nature.

  • csmac99 Apr 11, 2011

    "I'll give you my fishing rod when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!"

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