The Army Corps of Engineer’s next project: To clear sand from Carolina Beach Inlet

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As of Sept. 15, a state-of-the-art dredging vessel based in Wilmington returned home from Florida and its next project is to deepen the Carolina Beach Inlet. This is crucial for the economy and safe travel for commercial and recreational boater throughout the waterways. Though Murton will only have three days to dredge before heading to Morehead City and the Outer Banks, Barry Stull, a crew member said they will give them their best while there. The Murden will only be able to dredge 8 to 10 feet, but this will definitely improve navigation throughout the channels.

The crew aboard the Murden will have to take into consideration that in order to access the inlet’s mouth, they will have to dredge during low tide heading north through the Intercostal Waterway and the Masonboro Inlet. “The crew of as many as seven can come from all parts of the country and travel with the ship when on duty.” http://luminanews.com/2015/09/army-corps-dredge-clears-sand-from-carolina-beach-inlet/. Even though the Murden has propellers which can be rotated, raised or lowered, steering the dredge vessel can still be challenging. The Army Corps of Engineers are on a mission and that mission is to make navigation throughout the waterways safe for commercial and recreational vessels.

Navigation Waterways

In the Wilmington District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are responsible for 300 miles of federal navigation projects along the North Carolina coast that extend from Norfolk, Virginia to Little River, South Carolina. Wilmington Harbor and Morehead City Harbor are the largest navigation projects which have 600 vessels that have 6,500,000 tons of storage areas for containers and cargo. “The Navigation mission is to provide safe, reliable, efficient, effective, and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation systems (i.e. channels, harbors, and waterways) for movement of commerce, national security needs and recreation.” http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/Navigation.aspx.

Their responsibilities include planning and constructing new channels, ports, and maintain the depths of these channels, ports, and harbors through inlet dredging. These programs are vital to the nation’s economy and the Corps responsibilities are to keep these transportation system navigable because they are viewed as key elements to the State and local government for job creation and economic development for competitiveness and national security. In order to ensure proper funding for inlet dredging remains available, the government has to view inlet dredging of these harbors and ports as a vital necessity for the nation’s economy or government funding could be completely cut out of the budge.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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The U.S Army Corps of Engineers provides a variety of services which ensures our nation has a defense mechanism that enhances the capabilities of the military and the economy. Water resources at the beginning of the 20th century was a national problem because of neglected waterways, hydropower, and irrigation. In the west, there was a dire need for irrigation for agricultural. In the east, the construction of hydroelectric dams were needed to provide electricity. These dams effected the waterways by proliferating a rapid production of streams and channels which threatened navigation so inlet dredging became a necessary function provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The federal government realized that power station infrastructures were necessary after severe flooding occurred along the Mississippi River. “Between 250 and 500 people were killed, over 16 million acres were flooded, and over 500,000 people were forced from their homes to refugee camps.” http://www.usace.army.mil/About/History/BriefHistoryoftheCorps/MultipurposeWaterwayD

evelopment.aspx. With that said, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers performs many services related to the waterways around the United States.They ensure our nation’s military and economical infrastructures can promote cost-efficient electricity, irrigation, and navigational means for delivering goods and services around our nation and abroad.