Lockwood Folly Inlet

Lockwood Folly Inlet Dredging


Previously reported – January 2018
Latest Lockwood Folly dredge work finished, for now
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Lockwood Folly Inlet Hydrographic Survey
After-dredge survey of the inlet was done on September 7
Another survey was done after storm event Irma on September 18

The high cost of inlet access
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County looking at longer-lasting fix to Lockwood Folly Inlet shoaling problem
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New dredge project on horizon for Lockwood Folly
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Lockwood Folly Inlet dredging approved, work expected to begin in January
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County approves funding Lockwood Folly Inlet dredge project
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Commissioners OK funding Lockwood Folly dredging
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Project proposed to begin in late January of 2018. The project will be performed by a ‘hopper’ dredge, so there will be nearshore placement of beneficial beach quality sand. David informed us that the tentative date for the dredge project is now the first week in February.

Previously reported – February 2018
Lockwood Folly dredging project delayed, another to start soon
Brunswick County officials planned for two attempts to dredge the Lockwood Folly Inlet navigation channel in late 2017. One plan will have to wait until late 2018 or 2019.

Ken Willson represents Aptim Coastal Planning and Engineering of North Carolina Inc., the firm commissioners unanimously approved hiring at their Nov. 20 meeting to study the feasibility of a “piggyback” pipeline dredge project. Speaking during commissioners’ Feb. 5 agenda meeting, Willson said the size of the dredging project had changed, requiring major modifications to the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permit the county hoped to work through.

A second contract Commissioners approved with Aptim in December to spend $168,000 for North Carolina C Division of Water Resources to dredge the Lockwood Folly Inlet is anticipated to begin at the end of February, Assistant County Manager Steve Stone said.

Willson said the permit sharing plan to allow the Lockwood Folly Inlet dredging project to “piggyback” on       Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) contract awarded to Weeks Marine for beach restoration projects at Wrightsville Beach and Ocean Isle Beach won’t work for early 2018. Weeks Marine was selected because it uses the proper pipe dredge equipment for the navigation channel dredge county staff sought for a 12-foot deep and 150-foot-wide navigation channel through the inlet. Willson said after Aptim representatives met with Weeks Marine, the contractor said it would need the construction window, which usually runs from November-March, extended through April to add the extra project in Brunswick County. Weeks Marine also said it would need to expand the inlet channel to 14 feet deep and 190 feet wide instead of 12 by 150 feet. Willson said that led to an issue where the dredge would actually dig deeper than 14-foot channel depth so it would eventually settle at 14 feet. “The (contractor) felt if the project was to move forward, they would need to take additional core samples to ensure the sand below 14 feet is beach sand,” he said. Increasing from 150 feet across to 190 feet also triggered the CAMA permit modifications. Willson said the new goal is to prepare the permits and plans to complete the dredging in 2018-19.

The window for dredging projects opens in November, but since it is still a piggyback project, Willson said Weeks Marine would still want to expand the construction window to April 2019. The project cost is estimated at $4.13 million. Willson said the project would be split with the state paying two-thirds of the cost, $2.75 million, while Brunswick County would cover the remainder.

County officials discussed in November partnering with Holden Beach or Oak Island to split the local cost and provide the beach sand from dredging for one of the towns to use on its beaches. If the county and a municipality split the remaining $1.38 million cost, each would pay about $750,000, Willson said. Commissioners didn’t have to make a decision on moving ahead with the dredging at the Feb. 5 meeting, but by consensus they approved letting county staff look into it further to bring back later.
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Deeper, wider Lockwood Folly Inlet could be the answer to shoaling, though more costly
Dredging the Lockwood Folly Inlet channel wider and deeper might be more lasting, but it would come with a steep price tag—about $4.18 million per year. A feasibility study presented to the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners on Monday outlined how changing what’s been done in the past to keep the channel open to navigation between Oak Island and Holden Beach might be warranted.

Ken Willson, consultant with APTIM environmental engineers, said it appears authorization could be obtained to dredge the channel to 14 feet deep and 190 feet wide under the plan. Current projects aim for a maximum 12-foot channel depth and 150-foot width. It would qualify under the state’s shallow-draft navigation inlet dredging program with a shared cost–$2.75-million by the state and $1.38 million in local funds. Dredged sand could also be placed on area beaches to protect the strand against erosion, using the Weeks Marine dredge C.R. McCaskill.

The idea of dredging the channel deeper and wider may keep it from rapidly filling with shifting sand, which has been a problem in the past. However, the work may still just last for a year. With the permit schedule deadlines and a rush to complete dredging before sea turtle nesting season begins, it’s something that cannot be achieved this year. It would be possible in 2019.
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Looking to go deeper, wider with Lockwood Folly Inlet
Brunswick County is considering a bigger, more expensive dredging project for the shoal-prone inlet
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Maintain Lockwood Folly Inlet dredging progress
Almost a year ago, concerned citizens including local boat captains spoke before the Holden Beach Board of Commissioners, and then the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners, to voice their worries about shoaling in Lockwood Folly Inlet.

Although dredging was performed in late August and early September, it was for maintenance of the inlet, a temporary fix. By the time the next scheduled dredging takes place, it is likely the inlet will be as clogged as it was before — perhaps even worse. The conditions of the inlet, like all waterways, are constantly changing.

Everyone involved in these dredging efforts, from the officials making the decisions about them to the people whose lifestyles they directly affect, must make sure the momentum of these projects continues through their completion.
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Dare County Waterways Commission Make Imminent Plans for “Crunch Time” Dredging
Members of the Dare County Waterways Commission made imminent plans at their February 12 meeting to speed up dredging in Hatteras Inlet in order to accomplish as much as possible before the March 31 deadline. Dredging the South Ferry Channel (or Connecting Channel) in Hatteras Inlet is allowed from October 1 through March 31, but after this timeframe, an extension is required from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), CAMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Corps of Engineers to receive permission to dredge outside the permitted season.

An opportunity to speed up the process was also examined, as dredging that was scheduled for another North Carolina inlet near Holden Beach could potentially be postponed, moving Hatteras Inlet up in line. “Lockwood Folly [Inlet] is scheduled for three weeks of dredging, but there is no [date] restrictions there,” said Petersen. “Jim Medlock [of the Corps] will do calculations and estimate the cubic yards of sand that needs to be moved. Based on these numbers, and how rigid their schedule is, he will look at the choices.” Utilizing that information, and the potential for moving up the schedule, the commission and the Corps developed an imminent plan to get the ball rolling by the end of the week, before the dredging at Lockwood Folly Inlet begins.
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USACE has tentatively scheduled to begin inlet maintenance operations on or about February 21st with the hopper dredge Currituck. Since the project will be performed by a ‘hopper’ dredge, there will be nearshore placement of beneficial beach quality sand. The local share of the project cost totals about $168,000, and the county has asked Holden Beach to pay for half, since the project will be placing sand near the Holden Beach shore.

This vessel works in the shallow-draft ocean bar channels along the Atlantic coast.  However, in addition to removing dredged material from the channel, the CURRITUCK can transport the material to the downdrift beach and deposit it in the surf zone to nourish sand-starved beaches.

Dredge boat CURRITUCK arrived here on Wednesday, February 21st to begin inlet maintenance operations. Since the project will be performed by a ‘hopper’ dredge, there will be nearshore placement of beneficial beach quality sand.

Previously reported – April 2018
Lockwood Folly Inlet Dredging Complete
The Lockwood Inlet Association has announced that the Lockwood Folly Inlet Dredging project for Spring is complete. The Army Corps hopper dredge Currituck arrived on the site in mid-February to finish this 14-day dredging cycle. According to the Association, “for the first time in several years our inlet has a good navigable channel. It has been quite a journey to say the least.” “This is a huge win for our community, Brunswick County, and the state of North Carolina. We would like to thank those who really worked hard and put time into making this happen,” added the Lockwood Inlet Association. The project included clearing the navigation channel to its authorized width and depth—about 150 feet wide by 12 feet deep—and placing over 100,000 cubic yards of beach-quality sand on Holden Beach. The state of NC shallow draft inlet fund which is supplemented by boater registration fees will pay for 2/3 of this project. The county and Holden Beach would be responsible for the remainder.
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Previously reported – May 2018
Lockwood Folly Inlet in best shape in a decade following recent dredging, corps says
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers special purpose dredge Currituck has finished opening Lockwood Folly Inlet and officials report the channel is straighter and deeper than it’s been in a decade. Jim Medlock, shallow draft inlet navigation program project manager for the corps’ Wilmington District, said the job cost about $480,000 to $500,000, less than the $580,000 budgeted. The state’s shallow draft inlet fund paid for two-thirds, with the remainder split between Brunswick County and Holden Beach.

Heavily used by commercial fishermen, charter fishing guides and recreational boaters, the inlet was so badly shoaled that the U.S. Coast Guard removed the 10 navigational buoys in April 2017. Two corps dredges worked the inlet last summer, but the relief was short-lived when Hurricane Irma blew through in September, pushing sand into the outer reach of the channel. While most of the main Lockwood Folly channel is back to its federally authorized depth of 14 feet, Eastern Channel is badly shoaled there and practically impassable to all but kayaks or paddleboards. It’s still possible, however, to access the Lockwood Folly Inlet or Intracoastal Waterway from the channel just west of Sheep Island.
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Previously reported – June 2018
Anticipation for a safe, successful summer coming to newly dredged inlet
Over the last few summers, many boaters in Holden Beach or Oak Island stayed away from it. Now the Lockwood Folly Inlet has been dredged and we went to see how smooth sailing will be entering the summer. The inlet has for centuries been a part of nautical traffic. Those with the inlet association tell WWAY’s Andrew James that they almost lost it. Now it’s reportedly in the safest shape sailors have seen in years. For the last few summers Captain Cane Faircloth has not looked forward to the voyage. “We’d actually have to get going really fast and skip across the sandbar to navigate and get through it, which was super dangerous, but it was the only choice that we had,” said the Captain who is also a founding member of the Lockwood Folly Association. That’s all because sand erosion was causing a built-up shoaling at the mouth of the Lockwood Folly Inlet. Faircloth says, at low tide, it could be as shallow as 4 feet. For the past two seasons in Captain Faircloth’s business, Ollie Raja Charters, had to take visitors through the Shallotte River inlet or through the Cape Fear river. That after he and a group of boaters and shrimpers took a stand in 2016. “At the point when it all came together, the core of engineers told us we almost lost the inlet it was almost completely gone,” Faircloth said. They weathered the storm and the dredging came to remove the sand. The Army Core of Engineers completed it this past winter. Now the inlet is nearly double the depth at low tide as it was before. “Personally, I would say the traffic has quadrupled on it since last year,” Faircloth said. It’s that kind of traffic Faircloth claims to also bring a boost to business in the way of fuel or equipment sales. Needless to say, it may not be the smoothest sailing as our Andrew James found out, but Faircloth says it certainly will be safer sailing. “What we’re coming to learn is that the inlet is in the best shape it’s been in the last ten years.”Faircloth says they are still hoping the Coast Guard will put out more navigational beacons, buoys, right now two sit at the inlet’s mouth but eight have been ordered.
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Previously reported – August 2018
County seeks grant for Lockwood Folly Inlet dredging
Brunswick County commissioners unanimously agreed Monday night to apply to the North Carolina Division of Water resources for a grant to dredge an improved navigation channel at the Lockwood Folly Inlet. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has only had enough funding to dredge that inlet to eight feet,” Deputy County Manager Steve Stone said. Stone said while the corps has been unable to maintain an optimal navigation channel at the inlet, the proposed project would dredge the channel to its maximum depth of 12 feet and with a width of 150 feet. Stone said the estimated cost of the project would be $4,130,000. But with the grant, two-thirds of it would be funded by the federal government. The grant, if funded, would cover construction and design, engineering, administration and additional costs, Stone said. He added the dredging would likely produce more than 200,000 cubic yards of beach quality sand, which could be placed directly on an adjacent shoreline. The local share of the project cost would be split by Brunswick County and the municipality receiving the beach sand at a rate that has not yet been determined. “My question, who’s getting the sand?” commissioner Mike Forte asked. Stone said Holden Beach has a Coastal Area Management Act permit for sand placement but may not need it, while Oak Island could use the sand but doesn’t own a permit. Oak Island has applied for a permit to receive navigation dredge sand, Stone said, but he didn’t know if it had been approved. Stone said all permits needed by the county are not in place but securing them would be part of the project. The county is not obligated to accept the grant if it is awarded, he added. Commissioners agreed unanimously, 5-0 to provide a resolution to approve applying for the grant and added a stipulation to send a letter of support for the Oak Island sand permit application.
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What’s next for Brunswick’s Lockwood Folly Inlet?
Brunswick County will soon turn to the state in an effort to find a longer-term answer for the shoaling of Lockwood Folly Inlet. Last week, the county’s Board of Commissioners voted to move ahead with seeking a N.C. Division of Water Resources grant that would fund $2.75 million of an estimated $4.13 million project that would bring the inlet between Holden Beach and Oak Island to at least 12 feet, its permitted depth.
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Lockwoods Folly dredging project would provide Oak Island with much needed sand
The last dredging project offered only Holden Beach sand for beach nourishment. The dredging of the Lockwoods Folly Inlet in Brunswick County is once again an item of discussion; if approved the Town of Oak Island could be the beneficiary of much needed beach-quality sand. Earlier this year the Town of Oak Island requested permission to become a party to the Shallow Draft Inlet-5 federal permit, meaning it would be the recipient of sand for renourishment. During the last dredging only, the Town of Holden Beach was able to receive the sand for its own shore. According to the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners agenda, “The United States Army Corps of Engineers can make the Merritt, a hopper dredge, available in mid-to-late September of this year to dredge the Lockwood Folly Inlet navigation channel to a depth of approximately 10-feet and proposed to place approximately 30,000-cubic-years of sand nearshore off Oak Island.” The project will cost an estimated $676,000 and two-thirds of that is eligible for funding from the NC Shallow Draft Navigation Fund. The USACE has more than $100,000 still available from a previous dredging project so local funding at the time of approval would be $570,000. Brunswick County would provide $198,000 local match money to the state and is requesting the Town of Oak Island provide $95,000 towards the project. The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners will vote on the approval of the project on Monday.
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County agrees to Lockwood Folly Inlet dredging
Brunswick County commissioners agreed at their agenda meeting Monday to pay for part of a $676,000 dredging project for the navigation channel at the Lockwood Folly Inlet.

The county was seeking a much bigger project, but it took what it could get as commissioners voted unanimously, 4-0, to dredge the inlet 10 feet deep. Commissioner Randy Thompson was absent from the meeting Monday. In July, all five commissioners unanimously agreed to apply to the North Carolina Division of Water resources (DWR) for a grant to dredge the Lockwood Folly Inlet navigation channel. The $4.3 million grant project they sought would dredge the channel to its maximum depth of 12 feet and a width of 150 feet. The DWR grant would provide two-thirds of the funding through the federal government, with Brunswick County splitting the one-third local share of the project cost with Oak Island, which would have potentially received 200,000 cubic yards of beach sand.

For the $676,000 project, two-thirds of the cost would be funded through the Shallow Draft Navigation Fund. The Army Corps of Engineers already had $106,000 designated for a Lockwood Folly inlet project, so the one-third local match required by the county totaled $190,000. The work would be performed by the Murden, a hopper dredge that would move approximately 30,000 cubic yards of beach sand to be placed offshore of Oak Island near an area of significant erosion. The DWR requested the county send the matching funds as soon as possible to provide the corps sufficient time to schedule the project to begin in September. Commissioners approved transferring $190,000 to the DWR and authorized chairman Frank Williams to write a letter to Oak Island officials requesting the reimbursement of 50 percent, $95,000, of the local matching funds.
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Brunswick County to fund Lockwood Folly dredging; Oak Island has opportunity for sand
Oak Island could receive about 30,000 cubic yards of beach-quality sand for its west end during a dredging of the Lockwood Folly Inlet channel scheduled next month. The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to transfer $190,000 to the N.C. Division of Water Resources as the required local match for the project. The county has asked the Town of Oak Island to reimburse half of that amount, or $95,000. The state will fund two-thirds of the estimated $676,000 project from its Shallow Draft Navigation Fund. According to Steve Stone, deputy manager for Brunswick County, unexpended funds of $106,000 are on hand with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from a previous Lockwood Folly Inlet project, hence the one-third local match required is based on a project need of $570,000.

Stone said the project would begin in mid to late September, dredging the channel to a depth of 10 feet. Sand will not be piped directly onto the strand in order to protect nesting sea turtles. Rather, sand would be placed offshore close to an area that has experienced significant erosion over the past year, Stone said. “The project will be performed by a ‘hopper’ dredge, the Murden, so there will be nearshore placement of beneficial beach-quality sand,” said Stone.

The motion approved by commissioners Monday includes sending a letter to Oak Island Mayor Cin Brochure asking for the $95,000 match. “The project will both improve navigation in the inlet and provide beach-quality sand that will at least indirectly benefit the town’s shoreline in the area on the western portion of the island that recently has experience significant erosion,” the letter from board chairman Frank Williams states. District 2 commissioner Marty Cooke made the motion to approve the transfer of funds. He said it was a great opportunity to improve Lockwood Folly Inlet. “It benefits a lot of things,” said Cooke. “It’s for navigation of the channel. It’s for the environment and replenishing shellfish, not to mention local fishermen who use the inlet. It benefits many.”
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Previously reported – September 2018
Lockwood Folly Inlet Dredging
Town Manager David Hewett reported about a meeting in New Bern on Aug. 29 to discuss the long-term memorandum of agreement between the state and the Army Corps of Engineers and the status of shallow draft navigation channel dredging. He said some of the information he learned may be subject to change. The Murden hopper dredge was expected to come to Lockwood Folly Inlet, but that will not be happening this year. Hewett said the dredge will instead be reprioritized to other projects elsewhere this year. He also said a plan for a project to dredge inlet crossing will not come to Holden Beach either, and sand from that project will be placed on Oak Island. Hewett said the contract to dredge Lockwood Folly Inlet is part of a larger corps contract to take care of all shallow draft inlets. He doesn’t know when dredging along the coast will actually start but said a major portion of the region for sand does not include Holden Beach. This is a result of a new interpretation of existing federal rules regarding local sponsorship of federal projects that require easements be obtained from local property owners in order to put sand on the beach. Butler said he and Sullivan also attended the New Bern meeting, and said Sullivan did a good job of challenging the corps on why they didn’t contact the town about this, including the status of the easements. He said the corps admitted it didn’t call the town and could’ve handled things better. He said the meeting was a wakeup call for better communication between the corps and the town “and I don’t like wakeup calls. I’m not a morning person,” he said. Sullivan said he wants to have Fran Way, senior coastal engineer for Applied Technology Management, perform an analysis about putting sand on the west end of Oak Island by the corps instead of putting the sand on the east end of Holden Beach. He said he wants the analysis done to show that it’s cheaper to drop the sand on the east end of the town than on the west end of Oak Island. Mayor Alan Holden echoed Butler’s sentiment that communication between the corps and town must improve for the town’s sake.

“We’ve got to revamp our program or find ourselves really left out,” he said.
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Previously reported – October 2018
Oak Island beach-strand surveys will assist in securing FEMA aid to restore dunes
Engineers working with survey crews started post-Florence and Michael surveys of Oak Island Monday, part of the lengthy, bureaucratic process required for the town to receive federal disaster aid. Crews with backpack-mounted GPS devices will take detailed measurements of the dunes, berm and strand at more than 50 locations and follow up with surveys from boats to document how the storms affected the shore and nearshore environment. Johnny Martin, contract engineer for Moffatt & Nichol, said surveyors would also study the Eastern Channel, already badly shoaled, as well as Lockwood Folly Inlet. Martin put the initial estimate for damages and stormwater mitigation efforts at $12.2 million but stressed that the number was a rough guess used to help state emergency managers plan their budgets. He said the post-Matthew emergency dune took a hit, as did parts of the newly finished beach on the east end of town, built with sand from clearing the Wilmington Harbor shipping channel. Last week, town manager David Kelly noted that in addition to possible reimbursement for losses from the hurricanes, Oak Island is also in line to receive $8.2 million in state and federal funds to rebuild a sea turtle habitat from around SE 58th Street west to about Ocean Crest Pier. Town officials are hopeful they’ll combine the projects, possibly kick in another $1-million or so to stretch out the work and put sand on parts of the beach in winter 2019. Martin said it would take that much time to confirm the sources of sand and obtain environmental permits. The turtle habitat project may utilize sand from an offshore deposit called the Central Reach, the same source Holden Beach recently tapped for its large-scale project. On a related note, Martin said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to seek bids by next week on dredging the Intracoastal Waterway crossing of the Lockwood Folly River. That job, by a private contractor, is expected to place beach-quality sand on an erosional hot-spot on the west end of Oak Island, generally in the vicinity of the 6400 block of West Beach Drive. Also, the corps has plans to perform maintenance dredging of Lockwood Folly Inlet, using a sidecast dredge that can’t put sand on the beach. Whether and how that project was delayed or changed by the hurricanes isn’t yet clear.
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Previously reported – December 2018
Corps’ Rule Could Dash Town’s Sand Plan
Sand that Holden Beach has received for years to re-nourish its east-end oceanfront may instead go to a neighboring island, a prospect that caught town officials by surprise and questioning why the sudden change. The town is now in the process of obtaining some 60 property easements in the hopes of getting a shot at receiving sand the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers routinely pumps from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, or AIWW, crossing at Lockwood Folly Inlet. The Corps has since 2002 given the dredged material to Holden Beach, but Corps officials in late August told town officials that the town would have to get easements and, since Holden Beach’s neighbor to the east, Oak Island, needs fewer easements, that town may get the sand. The news was a jolt to a town where its board of commissioners this past spring voted unanimously to withdraw a permit application to build a terminal groin at the east end, which loses about 60,000 cubic yards of sand a year, according to annual monitoring. “We were taken aback by it,” said Holden Beach Commissioner Joe Butler. “We were disturbed at the meeting, we honestly were. For X number of years that sand from Lockwood Folly has been placed on Holden Beach. Financially, it makes more sense to do it that way. From a sand-drift perspective, it makes more sense to do it that way.”  Lisa Parker, chief public affairs officer of the Corps’ Wilmington District, said in an email that the Corps is not implementing a new rule on easements, but rather easements “should have been required all along.” “In the past we have not required the town to provide us copies of easements to place sand on the beach,” Parker said. “Easements have always been required; as part of our preparation for doing these projects, we are now making sure they are in place before issuing contracts to do the work. The Corps has had permits to place beach compatible sand on adjacent beaches when dredging the AIWW for many years. The specific permit for the Lockwood Folly Inlet Crossing allows for sand to be placed on either Holden Beach or Oak Island.” Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett said he doesn’t understand why the Corps is requiring easements because the sand is placed below the high-tide mark, which is under state ownership. “It’s below the high-tide mark, which, of course, ebbs and flows in the public trust area,” he said. “We’re proceeding with the attempt to acquire the easements, but our position is that it’s a redundant exercise.”

The implication of the Corps’ easement requirement will be wide sweeping with other beach towns that have been the beneficiaries of sand dredged in federal projects having to supply documentation that can be timely and costly.

“The easement issue has never been an issue,” said Greg “Rudi” Rudolph, head of the Carteret County Shore Protection Office. “Now this time they’re telling us that we need easements. Any raised land, nourished beach becomes property of the state of North Carolina so why would you need easements of these upland areas anyway?”

A majority of the easements obtained along the Bogue Banks oceanfront are permanent, he said. “Does the Corps want a spreadsheet showing all the parcels? Do they want a hard copy of them all? Are the ones we have not good enough?” Rudolph asked.

Holden Beach is paying Applied Technology and Management Inc., or ATM, $40,000 to conduct a modeling project within the inlet to help make the town’s case for the sand. “We have accumulated some historical shoreline maps and provided those to the Army Corps of Engineers in support of our position,” Hewett said. ATM is the same company that identified a 1,000-foot-long terminal groin as the preferred erosion-control method at Holden Beach’s east end. One of the arguments made against the terminal groin was that routine re-nourishment of the east end, coupled with what is known as the Central Reach project, will be sufficient to combat erosion and less expensive than building a hardened structure. Terminal groins are wall-like structures built perpendicular to the shore at inlets to contain sand in areas of high erosion, like that of beaches at inlets. The first phase of the Central Reach project was completed more than a year ago and pumped about 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along about a 4-mile stretch of oceanfront in the middle of the island. Hewett said sand from the federal dredging project has been routinely placed on about a three-quarters-of-a-mile stretch of beach. These sand injections are included with the town’s beach monitoring program. “It’s more than 1,000 meters,” he said. “Every two years it varies, but it’s not unheard of to get up close to 200,000 cubic yards.” That’s not a lot of sand, but that amount is significant to the entire island, Hewett explained.

The town’s annual average erosion rate along the entire 9-mile stretch of oceanfront is about 200,000 cubic yards.

The ocean current washes sand onto and sweeps sand off Holden Beach’s oceanfront from east to west. This is known as a littoral current, which develops parallel to the coast as waves break at an angle to the shoreline. “That sand benefits the entire island because it migrates east to west,” Hewett said. “The east end of Holden Beach is erosional, and the west end of Holden Beach is accretional. That is a direct result of 40 years of putting the sand on the east end of Holden Beach and it migrating to the west.” For that reason, he argues, it doesn’t make sense to place the sand on the west end of Oak Island. “It’s a wrong decision from the logical side because of the east-west littoral drift,” Hewett said.

Holden Beach commissioners in October adopted a resolution which states, in part, “natural nearshore transport of sand via littoral drift occurs from east to west in Long Bay, making sand placement on the West End of Oak Island of time-limited benefit while increasing the negative impact on the LWF Inlet.” Oak Island Town Manager David Kelly did not return a call seeking comment. Brunswick County Deputy County Manager Steve Stone said he was surprised to hear that the Corps was requiring easements. “The county does not have an official written policy about the placement or the deposition of the sand,” he said. “But I think there’s a general consensus that there should be some sort of management plan where sand would be shared between those two communities on some sort of rational basis. The county’s policy is that we want our beach communities to be successful. Ultimately, the towns are free agents.” Holden Beach anticipates spending roughly $30,000 in attorney fees to get the easements.

“We’re working just as hard as we can so, if we can, somehow through a Hail Mary so we can get what we can,” Hewett said.
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Holden Beach eyes sand from 2019 project to reinforce island’s east end
Holden Beach’s east end could receive sand from a possible Lockwood Folly Inlet project next year. The town’s inlet and beach protection board learned about the opportunity during their Nov. 29 meeting. In the email sent to Town Manager David Hewett, Oak Island Town Manager David Kelly and Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy, Deputy County Manager Steve Stone said the county received a grant award contract from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources for the Lockwood Folly Navigation Project submitted last summer. The application indicated the county would work to place the resultant beach-quality material, estimated to be in the range of 250,000 cubic yards, on one of the two beaches. The county is seeking feedback from Holden Beach and Oak Island before it pursues the project. Stone said county originally proposed paying 25 percent of the required local share, or $344,338, with the remaining 75 percent, or $1,033,013, to be paid by the town receiving the sand.

Hewett told Holden Beach commissioners at a special Aug. 30 meeting a plan for a project to dredge inlet crossing will not come to Holden Beach, but the sand will be placed on Oak Island, according to information he received during a Aug. 29 meeting in New Bern to discuss the long-term memorandum of agreement between the state and Army Corps of Engineers and the status of shallow draft navigation dredging. Hewett said at the special meeting this was the result of a new interpretation of existing rules regarding local sponsorship of federal projects that require easements to be obtained from local property owners in order to put sand on the beach.

Stone said while it is technically possible to place sand from a single project on both islands, it would increase the cost “significantly” and a “piggyback” contract might not offer enough time. The county suggests proceeding with a project “and that it is successful, that a future project place sand on an alternate island, presuming parties are receptive to such an arrangement.” Stone said DWR staff members are aware the project is unlikely to happen before fall 2019 but extending the period of performance could be granted. He said the county hopes to hear back from both municipalities by early January.

Assistant Town Manager Christy Ferguson asked inlet board members to come up with three potential special meeting dates to talk about the project before commissioners have their regular meeting Dec. 18. Inlet board members suggested Dec. 7, 10 or 11. Ferguson said Monday the special meeting will be 2 p.m. Dec. 7.

Fran Way, senior coastal engineer with Applied Technology & Management Inc. of Mount Pleasant, S.C., also attended the inlet board’s regular November meeting. Way said because the corps sand that would normally go on Holden Beach is going to Oak Island instead this time “that sand (mentioned in Stone’s email) cannot go on Oak Island.” “I think if that sand is not going on our east end, it’s not a good thing for Holden Beach,” he said, citing erosion there. “It’s only a good thing if we get the sand,” inlet board member Rhonda Dixon said. Way said the removal of 250,000 cubic yards from the inlet to place on the beach would be OK because studies show local inlets can have about 600,000 cubic yards taken and placed on the beach before any real adverse effects would be felt. Dixon said the worst-case scenario would be Oak Island getting all the sand mentioned in Stone’s email. “We can’t let that happen,” she said. Way said no matter which island receives the sand; it probably wouldn’t be placed until late next year at the earliest.

If the county submits for a permit in January, they might be lucky to get the permit by July, followed by a three- to four- month bidding process for the actual work, “assuming it can happen,” he said. “But then all of a sudden you throw in a hurricane and it throws everything off.”

The NCDEQ state coastal commission met Nov. 27-29 in Ocean Isle Beach, where it received an overview of coastal and community impacts from Hurricane Florence and Tropical Storm Michael. The commission also considered the town of Oak Island’s development line amendment, hearing about the progress in updating long-term erosion rates and dredged material management and discussed new inlet hazard area delineations and management.
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Corps approves dredging contract; good news for Oak Island
After removing some of the optional jobs, such as grooming freshly renourished beaches, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $3.3-million contract to Southwind Construction Co. for work on area waterways. The bid award is good news for Oak Island, which expects to receive 88,000 cubic yards of sand along an eroded section of the western part of the island near 69th Place West. It is expected to cover about 2,500 feet of beach.

It’s also possible the town will be able to contribute local money to the project to remove and place even more sand from the Lockwood Folly River crossing of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Brennan Dooley, shallow draft inlet manager for the Corps, said that the Corps was able to adjust the scope of work to get the contract out and there will be a pre-construction meeting on the timetable “soon.” The goal is to have the sand out of the inlet crossing and several other areas this winter. Whether the contractor will be able to place additional sand on Oak Island depends in part on how soon the job gets started and whether bad weather or other factors delay the jobs.

At Lockwood Folly, the channel is federally authorized to be 350 feet wide, while the contract calls for clearing a 90-foot area, so there is additional beach-quality sand available, officials have said. In additional to clearing the crossing, Corps officials intend to perform maintenance dredging of the Lockwood Folly inlet. Oak Island and other local officials are pressing the Corps to use a special-purpose hopper dredge for that work, instead of a sidecast dredge, which tosses the sand off to the side, something like a giant lawnmower. The hopper dredge can instead place sand in the nearshore environment, but not actually on the beach.
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Holden Beach inlet board recommends pursuing sand project
Holden Beach’s inlet and beach protection board recommended town commissioners pursue a project that could mean sand being placed on the east end of Holden Beach. In an email sent to Town Manager David Hewett, Oak Island Town Manager David Kelly and Brunswick County Manager Ann Hardy, Deputy County Manager Steve Stone said the county received a grant award contract from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Division of Water Resources for the Lockwood Folly Navigation Project submitted last summer. The application indicated the county would work to place the resultant beach-quality material, estimated to be in the range of 250,000 cubic yards, on one of the two beaches. The county is seeking feedback from Holden Beach and Oak Island before it pursues the project. Stone said county originally proposed paying 25 percent of the required local share, or $344,338, with the remaining 75 percent, or $1,033,013, to be paid by the town receiving the sand. Stone said DWR staff members are aware the project is unlikely to happen before fall 2019 but extending the period of performance could be granted. He said the county hopes to hear back from both municipalities by early January. In its recommendation, the inlet board raised concerns such as what type of impact the removal of 250,000 cubic

In its recommendation, the inlet board raised concerns such as what type of impact the removal of 250,000 cubic yards of sand for the project will have on both Holden Beach’s east end and Oak Island. It said the county’s engineers estimate the 250,000 cubic
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Previously reported – January 2019
Corps Puts Limits on Dredged Sand Disposal
Getting permission to dump sand in federally maintained dredged material disposal areas may not be entirely impossible, but a nationwide policy heavily restricts access for North Carolina coastal municipalities and businesses that have long relied on the sites. If the Army Corps of Engineers’ Wilmington District office, along with local and state officials, can come up with ways to work around the policy, all indications are that it could come at a hefty price for non-federal users, including beach towns and private marina owners. The policy indicates that while non-federal projects may apply to dispose of material on a Corps-maintained site if the project meets specific requirements, most federal projects are perpetual, and therefore “few” sites will have extra space. Though the Corps’ nationwide guideline is more than a year old – it became effective Feb. 3, 2017 – word of it has gradually spread along the North Carolina coast.
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Previously reported – February 2019
USACE dredge boat Murden replaced the Merritt and will be here until February 25th as long as conditions remain favorable. Murden deposits sand nearshore which is more beneficial than the side-caster Merritt, but not as good as putting it on the beach with a pipeline project.  The good news is it is placing the sand off our beach, not Oak Island’s.  That sand is then in “the system” and will eventually append to our beach – not just fall back in the inlet.

USACE Merritt

The Merritt is a side-cast dredge that has two drag arms on each side of the vessel that operators lower into the water. The dredge removes sediment from the bottom and pumps it through a discharge pipe outside of the channel and into the direction of the current. It can dredge to a depth of up to 20 feet. The Merritt is especially suited for maintenance of shallow, un-stabilized inlets where larger hopper dredges cannot operate due to strong currents and ocean environment.

USACE Murden

This vessel will work in the shallow-draft ocean bar channels along the Atlantic Coast.  In addition to removing dredged material from the channel it can transport the material to the downdrift beach and deposit it in the surf zone to nourish sand-starved beaches.

Group Seeks Corps’ OK on Dredge Spoil Plan
The North Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association is rolling out a plan that, if approved, would allow municipalities and private businesses to once again unload sand in federally maintained dredged material disposal areas in the state. Members of the nonprofit, also referred to as NCBIWA and pronounced “N.C. byway,” met recently with officials from the Army Corps of Engineers’ Wilmington district and staff from U.S. House and Senate offices to kick off a campaign that would scale back the nationwide ban on the use of the Corps-maintained disposal sites. The initial move in what is being described as a two-pronged approach is to get the Corps to narrow the ban to deep-draft navigation projects, which are those where a channel is maintained deeper than 16 feet.

The Corps’ February 2017 guidance was made to conserve space within its disposal sites after millions of cubic yards of material dredged from non-federal projects were placed in a single dredged material placement facility, or DMPF, in Galveston, Texas. Limiting the rule to deep-draft navigation projects would offer North Carolina municipalities and small businesses the opportunity to dump dredge spoil pumped from shallow-draft projects onto federally managed disposal areas. “In our minds, that would allow Wilmington district to evaluate on a case-by-case (basis), ‘will this project impact future capacity?’” said Robert Neal, NCBIWA treasurer.

A majority of North Carolina’s inlets are shallow-draft navigation channels, meaning they are no more than 15 feet deep. The shipping lane of the Cape Fear River and Beaufort Inlet are the only deep-draft channels in the state. Seventeen of North Carolina’s 19 navigable inlets are shallow-draft inlets, which tend to shoal more rapidly than deep-draft inlets and therefore require more frequent dredging to keep them unclogged and navigable. “They need to hear from us how this is affecting us,” said Kathleen Riely, NCBIWA executive director, referring to officials in the Corps’ office in Washington, D.C. “I think they need to hear from us directly, ‘look, this is what it’s done.’” So far, Wilmington district officials have declined requests from two small businesses and three towns in the state to use Corps DMPFs. Those projects included maintenance dredging at Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach and Sunset Beach in Brunswick County and Bradley Creek Marina and Masonboro Yacht Club in New Hanover County. They included more than 100,000 cubic yards of sand and “potentially” more than $1 million, according to information provided by NCBIWA. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, NCBIWA officials said. Marinas and other small businesses, and several beach towns, including Southport and Oak Island in Brunswick County, Topsail Beach in Pender County and other communities will experience hardships as a result of the policy. Without access to federally maintained disposal areas, non-federal entities are limited to hauling dredged material by truck to upland areas. Neal referred to such operations as “bucket and barge.” “We’re talking about small businesses so the additional cost of that is a significant cost on them,” he said.

 The Corps manages about 218 DMPFs totaling more than 5,000 acres in North Carolina. Some of those sites have not been used. “We’ve got a couple we’re worried about,” said Justin McCorcle, an attorney with the Corps’ Wilmington district. One facility near Masonboro Inlet in New Hanover County is full, he said. The Coast Guard gave the Corps $1 million to raise the dikes at a facility near the Southport Marina in Brunswick County. “Utilization of that capacity that the U.S. Coast Guard paid for is difficult,” McCorcle said. “Obviously in the Wilmington district we’re not in the position to advocate a change to our policy or particularly talk about how it is likely to be changed. We were not closely involved in the drafting of it. What we can express is what our concerns are and what we would be looking for moving forward. How do we make sure we have those available? I think we would want some sort of plan for what to do when an area became full. I think that would be the basic issue.” A majority of the federally maintained dredge disposal areas in North Carolina are state owned, but the easements to the Corps are in perpetuity. Neal said North Carolina is behind other coastal states like Florida and New Jersey, which have historic dredge disposal site management plans. The idea, though, is for North Carolina to eventually have its own dredge management plan.

“We have short-term issues that need to be resolved and then we’re working on a long-term plan down the road,” Riely said. NCBIWA is requesting a five-year grace period for the Corps’ Wilmington district and the state to work together to create such a plan. “What we would like to do is propose something in unison with the district and the state,” Neal said. Part of the work will be getting a handle on how often the sites will be used and how much material is expected to be disposed of within the sites. “It’s a risk calculation,” McCorcle said. “Are there critical dredging issues at these facilities? What kinds of quantities? Are there adequate facilities nearby and do those appear to have adequate capacity? How can we identify the risk and make sure the (Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway) stays navigable?”
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Previously reported – February 2019
USACE dredge boat Murden replaced the Merritt and will be here until February 25th as long as conditions remain favorable. Murden deposits sand nearshore which is more beneficial than the side-caster Merritt, but not as good as putting it on the beach with a pipeline project. The good news is it is placing the sand off our beach, not Oak Island’s. That sand is then in “the system” and will eventually append to our beach – not just fall back in the inlet.

Lockwood Folly Inlet Hydrographic Survey After Dredging / March 2019

Lockwood Folly Inlet Hydrographic Survey / June 2019

County commissioners deny town’s reimbursement request
The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners unanimously denied a request by Holden Beach officials seeking $194,157.50 partial reimbursement funds for beach renourishment during its Monday, Aug. 5, regularly scheduled meeting. Holden Beach officials have paid $388,295 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and requested the county bear 50 percent of that expenditure. The county normally pays 25 percent of the local share of similar projects that “provide beneficial sand for shoreline stabilization,” Deputy County Manager Steve Stone said. The Holden Beach request stems from the planned expansion of the Lockwood Folly Inlet Crossing Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW) maintenance project. In a letter received June 28, Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett requested the county “reimburse to Town of Holden Beach $194,157.50 for half of the local share equaling $388,295 that the Town has preemptively advanced to the Department of Environmental Quality for the next Lock-wood Folly maintenance dredging event scheduled for this coming fall.” The letter, addressed to Stone, referenced an email dated June 6, from Brennan Dooley, Project Manager for the Wilmington District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Dooley’s email stated the dredging would likely result in 135,000 cubic yards of “material to be dredged in the advanced maintenance widener that we will not have the federal funds to pay for. The cost estimate to remove this material is approximately $1,165,000. This estimate includes a $50,000 estimate for mobilization of the pipe and any extra pipe needed for the placement of the additional material.” Hewett’s letter stated the “beach quality” material would be placed on the east end of Holden Beach, improving not only “AIWW navigation in the local area but will also provide coastal storm drainage resiliency. The state will provide $776,705 from the North Carolina Draft Channel and Aquatic Weed Fund, Hewett’s letter states. Holden Beach officials have paid $388,295 to the Corps of Engineers for the project in an effort “to facilitate federal contracting efforts and winter 2019/20 dredging window,” Hewett’s letter continues. Stone provided back-ground information to the commissioners regarding similar requests. “While the County has often paid 50 (percent) of the cost of navigation projects that do not produce beneficial sand placement, staff recommend that the County only pay 25 (percent) of the local share of projects such as this that provide beneficial sand for shoreline stabilization,” Stone stated. The county’s portion would be $97,074, which county manager Ann Hardy described as “the normal appropriation. The Corps notified Holden Beach officials the expanded project “could not be included in the ‘base’ contract for the waterway project due to a pending ‘environmental opinion’ on the potential impacts of the expansion project,” Stone said. In addition, Stone stated that “there is no assurance that the expansion project will occur this fall/winter, despite the fact the State and Town have already provided the full non-federal project share to USACE. If the Board decides to provide any project reimbursement to the Town, you would have the option of not submit-ting the funding to the Town until there was confirmation from USACE that the project would occur in the fall of 2019.”Commissioner Pat Sykes made the motion to reimburse Holden Beach $97,074, or 25 percent of its request. Commissioner Marty Cooke seconded the motion. Comparing the Holden Beach request to “heart-burn,” Cooke reminded Hewett of Holden Beach’s decision in April 2018 to withdraw its application for a terminal groin at the east end of the island. The Holden Beach Town Council voted unanimously to withdraw its application, citing the expense of the project. The Corps estimated the cost of the groin and its maintenance could exceed $30 million. “Essentially the terminal groin project for Holden Beach was explored as a means to have a more stable situation with beach renourishment and to help sustain navigation,” Cooke respond-ed in an email to the Beacon. “Portions of the studies indicated that although maintenance of the terminal groin would still need to take place, the financial impact for the long term would be lower. Not having the terminal groin would entail a continual conventional beach renourishment perspective, which is happening now. “Maintenance would still take place with a terminal groin, but not with as great an expense.” Historically the state op-posed hardened structures as a method for controlling coastal erosion. In 1985, the North Carolina Coastal Re-sources Commission (CRC) concluded “the potential negative effects of such structures could cause irreversible damage to North Carolina’s beaches. As a result, the CRC recommended banning the construction of hard structures to protect buildings at the coast,” according to the North Carolina Coastal Federation website. In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly repealed a 30-year ban on terminal groins as a solution to beach erosion. Its action allowed up to four “test” terminal groins to be built. Four beaches sought permit applications: Figure Eight Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Bald Head Island and Holden Beach. “Holden Beach came to the commissioners yesterday asking for twice what we traditionally pay to assist municipalities for such renourishment. Although we are in favor to assist municipalities for such projects, and did so yesterday, they were asking for twice what we normally pay. We voted to assist with the amount we normally do, which was also what staff recommended,” Cooke stated. Cooke clarified his stance Monday evening, stating he fully supported beach renew-al and its role in the county’s tourism industry as well as its positive impact on the environment and wildlife. “Regardless of a terminal groin or not, the beaches must be supported and maintained. I was just stating that a terminal groin would have helped do so at a lower cost to the general public and to the taxpayers.
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