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Thursday, May 23, 2024

After storm shallowing, navigation restricted on Lockwood Folly inlet. County seeking quick fix

Lockwood Folly Inlet Navigation Channel shoaled after Hurricane Dorian, leading to navigation issues between Holden Beach and Oak Island. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Lockwood Folly Inlet Navigation Channel shoaled after Hurricane Dorian, leading to navigation issues between Holden Beach and Oak Island. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — Navigation of the Lockwood Folly Inlet has been restricted to maritime traffic in recent months. Some areas of the inlet are as shallow as three feet deep, according to a recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers survey.

To address the most immediate navigation needs, Brunswick County Commissioners unanimously approved transferring $149,903 out of its shoreline protection reserves to the North Carolina Division of Water Resources (DWR) Monday.

County, state match

Brunswick County’s contribution covers 34% of the total project cost, $440,890, which will dredge the highest-priority areas of the navigation channel to eight feet. DWR will cover 66% of the total project cost. Brunswick County is asking the towns of Holden Beach and Oak Island to pitch in half of the county’s contribution, at $37,476 each.

The county has heard reports of vessels not being able to make it out of the inlet at low tide, according to emails with the Corps, and is seeking to address the issue as soon as possible.

Comparing inlet surveys on Aug. 22 and Sept. 30, U.S. Army Corps spokesperson Dave Connolly said Lockwood Folly added approximately 30,000 cubic yards after Hurricane Dorian. Connolly added that controlling depths mostly remained the same but Dorian definitely did bring in added material.

“Shoaling is a constant problem,” Connolly said.

Lockwood Folly is not currently on the Corps’ hurricane recovery list, he said. The inlet typically has a significant tidal range, with most vessels taking advantage of the high-tide cycle, according to Connolly.

No federal funds are in place to dredge the inlet. Still, the Army Corps engages in a long-term partnership with the state to assist low-use navigation federal projects like Lockwood Folly that use state and local funds. The Corps does not have a hopper or pipeline dredge available at this time, project documents show, which is the county’s preference. Instead, the project will use a ‘sidecast dredge’ that will move material out of the navigation channel.

No project start date is yet available. Brunswick County is asking funds to be moved along quickly, with remaining financing needed from DWR to be transferred to the Corps before work can begin.

View the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Sept. 30 survey of Lockwoods Folly below:


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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