Emergency Dredging Underway in O.C. Inlet - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Emergency Dredging Underway in O.C. Inlet

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Dredge vessel in the Ocean City Inlet. (Photo: WBOC) Dredge vessel in the Ocean City Inlet. (Photo: WBOC)

OCEAN CITY, Md. - Emergency dredging is underway in the Ocean City Inlet.  The work being done by the Army Corps of Engineers became a necessity after January's nor'easter.

The dredging was originally scheduled to begin last Friday, but high winds and rough seas delayed the arrival of the "Currituck" until Sunday in the Ocean City Inlet.

January's storm pushed a lot of sand into the inlet, reducing the depth of the water in some places to a point that is nearly impassable.  Brian Tinkler, the general manager of the Sunset Marina, told WBOC numerous fishermen have complained about a particular area in the commercial fishing lane between two buoys.

"I've been told between 11 and 12 out here, the entrance to the commercial harbor, it's right around five feet at mean low water," said Tinkler.

With water levels that low, it can bring the commercial fishing industry out of that harbor to a stand still at times.

"I know for the commercial guys, it has made it very difficult for them.  They've had issues having to sit out for many hours at a time with loaded boats waiting to come in and off load," said Tinkler.

The situation in the Inlet has forced the Army Corps of Engineers to begin emergency dredging.  The goal is to remove around 10,000-cubic-yards of sand over five days, and then another 5,000-cubic-yards during regular dredging maintenance later in the month.  The Currituck and its crew will work around the clock to try and return the inlet back to normal.

"It's totally necessary.  It's mandatory if the fishing community is going to be maintained here out of the Ocean City Inlet," Tinkler said.

So in order to maintain commercial fishing out of the Inlet, the inlet needs to be maintained.

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