Oregon Inlet Jetty Project: Environmental and Economic Concerns Need to Be Resolved

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Oregon Inlet is the primary route to the ocean for hundreds of commercial and recreational fishing vessels operating in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. However, the inlet experiences more high winds, strong tides, and shifting sand than any other inlet on the coast of the United States. This high-energy environment often creates sand bars and large breaking waves at the inlet's entrance to the ocean, commonly known as the ocean bar. These conditions, especially when combined with the severe storms that frequent the area, ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 30, 2002.

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Oregon Inlet is the primary route to the ocean for hundreds of commercial and recreational fishing vessels operating in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. However, the inlet experiences more high winds, strong tides, and shifting sand than any other inlet on the coast of the United States. This high-energy environment often creates sand bars and large breaking waves at the inlet's entrance to the ocean, commonly known as the ocean bar. These conditions, especially when combined with the severe storms that frequent the area, can swamp a boat or run it aground, imperiling both life and property. During the past 19 years, the Army Corps of Engineers has had difficulty maintaining the ocean bar navigation channel at Oregon Inlet at its authorized 14-foot depth. Specifically, from 1983 through 1994, the Corps spent on average $4.1 million per year dredging the channel, but was only able to maintain the authorized 14-foot depth on average 23 percent of the time. After 1994, the Corps spent an average of $2 million per year, but the percentage of time the channel depth was maintained at its authorized depth declined to 15 percent. The Corps' most recent economic analysis of the proposed Oregon Inlet jetty project, issued in 2001, has several limitations, and as a result, does not provide a reliable basis for deciding whether to proceed with the project. Of the eight completed jetty projects constructed similarly to the proposed Oregon Inlet jetty project, two are generally performing as planned. Of the six other similar projects, three have required more dredging and higher maintenance costs than expected, and two have had their weirs closed. In designing the proposed Oregon Inlet jetty project, the Corps' Wilmington District Office applied lessons learned from the construction of similar jetty projects and from internal Corps guidance. Both the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior support the goal of providing a safe navigation channel through Oregon Inlet for commercial and recreational fishing vessels. However, both departments support a dredging-only approach to achieve that goal in an environmentally acceptable manner."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 30, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Oregon Inlet Jetty Project: Environmental and Economic Concerns Need to Be Resolved, report, September 30, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293867/: accessed September 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.