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Letters: Help Dredge the Channel
For better navigation
February 27, 2023

n March 2020, the channel to Whittaker Creek was dredged. It took the efforts of residents, visitors, and businesses – along with a matching grant from the state – to make it happen.

But it wasn’t quite finished.

When the dredging was forced to stop due to a seasonal moratorium, the channel had been cut to a depth of 8 ft and a width of 80 ft. Except for a narrow portion near marker #3. There, the rock is more dense, and more difficult to drill. As a result, the channel near marker #3 is only 50 ft wide.

With that in mind, Chuck Gordon writes in.

Friends, as you may recall, Whittaker Creek Channel was dredged in March 2020, thanks to generous contributions from the community and local businesses, and coordinated by the town. But because of a delay in obtaining the permit, the job was not completed before the April 1 annual moratorium on dredging in Primary Nursing Areas. We’d like to finish the dredging and we need your help.

Please help us finish the job by sending a donation to the “Friends of Whittaker Creek” at P.O. Box 681 Oriental, NC 28571 or online via GoFundMe at https://gofund.me/e805364a.

For those boat or property owners who make use of Whittaker Creek, we would very much appreciate a donation of $100. Other residents who want to support Whittaker Creek, recognizing the jobs provided and the tourist revenue generated, may consider donating $50. Again, it will be very much appreciated. We hope we can again count on the marinas to provide $3,000 each, and other businesses that benefit from local tourism, $400. The Friends of Whittaker Creek is a federally approved 501©3 organization, approved by the state to raise funds for dredging.

Any contribution will help. Our goal is to raise at least $30,000 to add to the $29,639 in funds remaining from the first dredging. This will enable us to ask the state for matching grant funds. If approved, the other two-thirds of the funds needed will be provided through the NC Water Resources Development Grant Program. All local funds must be raised before application can be made for grant funds.

The Friends of Whittaker Creek surveyed the channel in January this year and found that most of the channel continues to maintain the mostly eight-foot depth it was dredged to in 2020. Dredging work to make the channel safer to navigate will focus on the narrower part of the channel near marker 3. At the request of the Friends of Whittaker, the dredging permit was just extended to 2027 by the NC Division of Coastal Management, so next steps in the process can begin right away.

Safe navigation into the creek helps maintain property values for the 127 real estate parcels that border the creek, 40-plus lots that have indirect access to the creek’s waterfront, 88 privately owned docks, and four marinas, which are either permanent or temporary home for 220-plus vessels. Those vessels bring people that reprovision, shop, eat in restaurants, and use other available services during their stay, thus contributing to our economy. The four marinas within the creek, as well as other related marine service businesses in the area, provide employment for over 150 people.

Oriental has a great reputation among boaters who transit the Intracoastal Waterway, bringing tourism revenue to the town. A safe, navigable waterway is critical to that reputation.

Chuck Gordon
Oriental, NC
February 27, 2023

Related Information
Whittaker Creek Dredging GoFundMe
2020 After Dredging Update – Plans to Widen the Narrow Channel
Whittaker Creek Dredging – Raising The $
Donor List, with Businesses in Red
Whittaker Creek Dredging Fully Funded

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