Two Towns Discuss Dredging

During the recent evolution of the City of North Myrtle Beach’s Cherry Grove Canals Dredging Plan, some property owners encouraged the city to meet with Ocean Isle Beach, NC officials to learn firsthand how the the town is dredging canals located within its jurisdiction.

On October 9, members of the North Myrtle Beach City Council, City staff and consultants traveled to Ocean Isle Beach to meet with Mayor Debbie Smith to learn more about the town’s dredging program.

There are about 900 privately owned properties located along 19 canals in the Town of Ocean Isle Beach. The Ocean Isle Beach canals are narrower than those located in Cherry Grove.

In comparison, there are about 700 privately owned properties located along 21 canals to be dredged in the City of North Myrtle Beach, plus the minor channel that runs parallel to the shoreline and offers access to the major channel and the Atlantic Ocean.

Ocean Isle Beach first dredged its canals in the 1980s and continues to perform maintenance dredges, generally in five year increments. The town’s 2014 – 2015 Maintenance Dredging project included 13 concrete canals and some of the header canal. With a price tag of about $1.9 million, the project removed some 56,650 cubic yards of material. The town employs a pipeline dredge but its designated spoils site is located close to the canals.

In comparison, the canals located in the Cherry Grove section of the city have never been dredged. The initial dredge will remove about 125,000 cubic yards of material. The city will employ a pipeline dredge but its designated spoils basin is located about four miles away from the canals, which adds significantly to the project cost. The estimated cost for the initial dredge is $6.5 million.

For its first dredge, the Ocean Isle Beach employed a 40 foot wide box cut dredge. Now, the town employs a 20 foot wide box cut dredge. On the other hand, the City of North Myrtle Beach’s project calls for employing a 24 foot wide box cut dredge.

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