The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Dredge CURRITUCK is in Ocean City, Md., for a sand bypassing operation to Assateague Island National Seashore (ASIS).
The dredge is scheduled to work in the area for about a month, and will be removing material from in and around the channel, with an emphasis on the ebb and flood shoals in which sand is traditionally trapped while naturally moving south toward Assateague Island.
This work is part of Assateague bypass operations conducted as part of the Assateague Island Restoration Project carried out in partnership with the National Parks Service.
Additionally, while in the area the dredge will also spend several days focusing solely on the navigation channel and shoaling hotspots, like the vicinity of buoys 11 and 12 and near the Coast Guard dock in the area of buoys 8 and 10.
Ocean City Inlet is the state of Maryland’s only access channel to the Atlantic Ocean and these dredging operations should benefit the many users of the inlet, including commercial fishermen, recreational boaters and the U.S. Coast Guard.
All material dredged is placed south of the inlet, just offshore of Assateague Island where it counteracts erosion.
The regularly-scheduled bypass dredging is generally performed twice a year to assist with sediment transport across the inlet south to Assateague Island – mitigating impacts to natural sediment transport caused by the Ocean City Inlet and its jetties.
Dredge CURRITUCK is a special purpose dredge based out of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, that primarily works in the shallow-draft ocean bar channels along the Atlantic coast.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also assessing long-term solutions to address chronic shoaling in the inlet in partnership with the state of Maryland and Worcester County.
That study effort is ongoing and the tentative plan going forward is still to make a recommendation later this year; complete the environmental assessment and design by spring 2021; and be ready to start construction in late 2021.