Oregon Inlet has been closed to most boat traffic this month due to extreme shoaling. The economic consequences are severe as it is the only passage into the Atlantic Ocean on a 150 mile stretch between Virginia Beach and Hatteras. The seafood industry in Wanchese and the charter boats out of Pirate’s Cove and Oregon Inlet Marina are in dire straits. The U.S Army Corps of Engineers spent $7.8M later last year dredging the inlet and it filled within weeks. The latest efforts include the state of North Carolina proposing an exchange or purchase of a 530 acre tract on the north side of the inlet owned by the National Park Service and a 180 acre tract on the south side of the inlet owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Both government agencies and environmental groups oppose building jetties. A deep channel would not only benefit boat traffic and coastal commerce but would also aid in better flushing of the inlet waterways.
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