Officials ask Obama for help with Oregon Inlet

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – The Dare County Board of Commissioners has reached out to the president for help with poor conditions at Oregon Inlet.

Dare County officials say the water depths at Oregon Inlet are authorized at 14 feet, but just last week the depths were less than four feet in some areas. This keeps recreational and commercial vessels from getting to the ocean.

Emergency dredging have begun in the area, so some boats are able to get through, but money is running out to keep the dredging going, so officials sent a letter to Pres. Obama.

“Mr. President, we have an emergency situation in Dare County,” the letter, signed by Chairman Warren Judge, said.” We desperately need to find a dependable and reoccurring funding source so that Oregon Inlet can have a consistent dredging effort to maintain this navigable channel on a year round basis, until such time as there is an alternate method of sand management.”

Document: Board of Commissioners letter

Officials say about $280,000 remains in the federal budget for dredging, and the cost of operating the dredge is $30,000 a day.

Additionally, Rep. Walter Jones (NC-03) and Sen. Kay Hagen (D-NC) have sent similar letters to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, to try to set up meetings with Dare County officials.

Document: Rep. Jones letter

Document: Sen. Hagan letter

Darcy’s office supervises all aspects of the Civil Works program of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We appreciate the support from our elected leaders in Washington and stand ready to meet with the President and Assistant Secretary Darcy at a moment’s notice to discuss this critical issue. Oregon Inlet serves as a highway for our watermen and when their homeport is inaccessible, this causes a devastating blow for the economy of our County and our region,” Chairman Judge said.

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