Dredging crews are set to survey the Oregon Inlet again this morning after they suspended operations due to shallow waters. Officials with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers say strong winds brought more sand into the inlet last week. That prevents crews from using their side-casting dredge. Bob Sattin is the cheif operator for the Army Corps of Engineers in Wilmington:
"A side-casting dredge is a dredge that works almost like a lawnmower would work. As it goes over the material, it sucks it up, and then casts it out to the side of the channel. The side-caster needs 5.5 feet in depth of water in order to work. Right now, Oregon Inlet is two feet deep."
Sattin says the corps' does not have the estimated $17 million to contract an ocean pipeline dredge, which works in shallow water. Oregon Inlet serves as a link to the ocean for much of the commercial fishing industry in Croatan Sound.