OCEAN CITY — The Army Corps of Engineers hopper dredge Currituck has arrived in Ocean City for a scheduled routine dredging project around the Inlet and is expected to be in the area for about a month.
A couple times a year, the Army Corps of Engineers-Baltimore District sends the Currituck, or its sister ship Murden, to Ocean City to conduct routine dredging in and around the Inlet. The Currituck, based at the Army Corps’ Wilmington, N.C. district, was arrived late this week and will remain in the area for about a month.
The Currituck will spend most of its time in the Ocean City area removing material from in and around the Inlet channel with an emphasis on the ebb and flood shoals which traditionally trap sand naturally moving south toward Assateague Island. The Assateague Bypass project is part of the larger Assateague Island restoration project conducted in partnership with the National Park Service.
The Assateague bypass project removes material in and around the navigation channel with an emphasis on the ebb and flood shoals that traditionally trap sand moving southward toward Assateague. Dredged material is placed south of the inlet, just offshore of Assateague Island where it counteracts erosion.
The Inlet and other channels in and around the commercial harbor naturally fill in and are in constant need of maintenance dredging, but the problem has become more acute in recent years to the point the Inlet is often impassable and unnavigable for larger vessels on even the highest of tides. For that reason, the Currituck will also spend several days focusing solely on the navigation channel and shoaling hotspots in the vicinity of buoys 11 and 12 and also near the Coast Guard dock in the area of buoys eight and 10.
The Currituck and its sister ship Murden arrive in Ocean City a couple of times each year to perform routine dredging projects and occasionally emergency repairs after storms.