***Update Aug. 9*** After a short day of dredging yesterday, the Currituck left Ocean City Inlet to finish another project this morning, Corps of Engineers Spokesman Chris Gardner said. The Currituck crew was able to finish portions of its job in the Ocean City Inlet, and will return in a few weeks to complete the rest.
(Aug. 9, 2019) The dredge Currituck will be clearing the channel in the Ocean City inlet this week, having arrived Tuesday to for five days of operations by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The dredging will be handled by the Currituck crew, which is made up of Army Corps of Engineers personnel from the Wilmington District in North Carolina, said Chris Gardner, Corps of Engineers public affairs specialist.
“The Currituck and her crew will be doing navigation-specific maintenance dredging, so all the work will be removing sediment from the channel itself,” Gardner said. “The crew will be focusing on the common shoaling hotspots for the most part.”
Sediment material from the dredging will be taken to offshore of the northern part of Assateague Island, and placed there in the surf zone to combat erosion on the south of the inlet, Gardner said.
This is not part of the longer-term solution effort that was signed earlier this year between the Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and county commissioners, and is just routine inlet maintenance.
Gardner said the longer-term project is still in the planning stages, and that the team handling the project hopes to make a recommendation early next year. Their goal is to begin construction in 2021.
The Ocean City Inlet continues to show signs of increased filling, which has caused damages to boats.
“Ocean City Inlet is dynamic, with multiple factors potentially contributing to the shoaling,” Gardner said. “Part of the ongoing efforts to address shoaling issues … is gathering more data regarding the movement of sediment.”
Until the long-term project enters its construction phase, the Corps of Engineers will continue with the dredging maintenance to keep Ocean City Inlet deep enough for most boaters.