The lack of federal funds for dredging our shallow N.C. inlets has reared its ugly head several times in the past, but, with the exception of Drum Inlet, there seemed to always be some funds found to keep it going. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case with the current administration and the sand is about to hit the bar.
In the past several federal budgets, the US Army Corps of Engineers have received virtually no money to keep our valuable inlets open. This year the proposal was reduced even more. This problem hasn't gotten the attention it deserves as due to several local items, such as beach renourishment projects, it hasn't become an issue with many folks until recently.
This is an issue of utmost importance! These shallow inlets are vital to many coastal communities for both commercial and recreational fishing. Without navigable inlets, commercial fishing interests suffer, recreational fishing interests suffer, tourism and vacation dollars go elsewhere and even the property values decline.
In late January, the US Coast Guard issued a news release stating it would begin removing buoys from the inlets once the depths reached less than four feet at low tide. This is the minimum depth their buoy tender can navigate to maintain the buoys.
The inlets listed in that news release were New River, New Topsail, Carolina Beach and Lockwood Folly. As of February 10, the buoys have already been removed from several.
As the user group for these inlets we need to spearhead a movement to make our legislators aware of their importance and return keeping these inlets open to a high priority.
Rather than start a second movement and possibly confuse the issue, this effort is already being directed through another website and we would like to refer you to there.
Please visit http://www.fryingpantower.com/modules.php?name=Save_The_Inlets and follow the links there to contact our legislators and share your views.