The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started clearing out sand from the Ocean City Inlet and Assateague Restoration Bypass this week to improve navigation.
All the work of clearing out the sand, according to a press release from the Army Corps, is expected to be completed in one visit, which will end sometime around Sept. 27.
The dredge Murden will be used in the Army Corps’ operation, specifically to focus on the ebb/flood shoal.
The dredge can remove one load of approximately 500 cubic yards of material per day from the inlet, according to Danielle Szimanski, an ecologist and project manager for the USACE Baltimore District.
Crews will move the dredged material just south of the inlet offshore from Assateague Island for most of its time to counter erosion along the beach.
The littoral drift of sand moves from north to south along the Ocean City beach. But because of the jetty system, sand tends to pile up to the north of the north jetty, and the area south of the inlet is deprived.
Ideally, the sand would be placed on the beach just south of the inlet, Assateague is a National Seashore.
“The National Park Service does not allow direct placement of dredged material onto beaches,” Szimanski said. “The Corps dredge instead places the material in the surf zone to enable the material to wash onto the beach in a more natural process.”
She added that the material will be placed approximately 3,500 feet south of the south jetty.
The dredge is expected to be in operation for 24 hours a day while it is in Ocean City.
The Assateague Bypass work, according to the press release, involves removing material from both in and around the channel, emphasizing the ebb and flood shoals. Ultimately, it is being done to mitigate impacts of natural sediment transport caused by the inlet and its jetties.