September 10, 2012
KEEP OREGON INLET OPEN
THE PERPETUAL erosion of the Nags Head beaches and shoaling of the Oregon Inlet channel demonstrate that the forces of nature that control the oceans can always outdo the forces (local, state and federal government) that try to control them.
Dumping sand on the beach and dredging the inlet channel will, if nature cooperates, suffice for a while. But a shoreline or an inlet cannot be permanently changed without the use of a hard structure like a groin or breakwater or seawall. Even these structures will be lost or ineffective if their design and placement are improper.
The folly of beach replenishment can be done, like anything else, if there is enough money to do it. The amount required will be infinite since the sand will continue to wash away every year. The quantity of sand lost annually and the cost of replacing it cannot be accurately predicted because of the endless variables involved.
One of these parameters, the outflow of Oregon Inlet, creates an eddy effect that, combined with the predominant southerly littoral (sand) drift, will always create an erosion problem for South Nags Head beaches.
On the other hand, our inlets, namely Oregon Inlet, need to be kept open regardless of cost. The benefits of an offshore breakwater like those found at several inlets in California should be given a closer look.
The breakwater would shield the inlet. Once inside the breakwater, all boat traffic would also be able to operate in almost any sea state.
The commerce that moves through this inlet – commercial, recreational, oceangoing – is a way of life and source of independence for many. It is also an important part of Dare County’s economic structure.
Unlike the beaches that extend inland and that are backed up with row after row of development many miles from the shoreline, these unique passages are vital connections between our ports and sea. Read more….
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