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Pecan Grove Marina Dredging Complete
Channel Now At 8 Feet
December 20, 2019

he channel to Pecan Grove Marina is like many in the area – every few years it shoals in. Deeper draft boats would occasionally run aground when departing or returning to the marina. Sometimes they would get free by a captain’s clever maneuvers, but some groundings led to a call to the tow boat.

Pecan Grove Dredging
The King Dredging barge working the channel in November.

Two years ago, Pecan Grove began filing paperwork for a state grant to help fund the dredge. It would be the fourth dredging of the channel (officially called “Shop Gut Channel”) in the marina’s 20 year history. After a few attempts, the grant was approved. The grant was used in combination with funds raised by the marina slip owners association. King Dredging of Beaufort was contracted for the repair. Sea Harbour Yacht Club had used the company to dredge their channel in Pierce Creek in 2017; they came highly recommended.

Pecan Grove Dredging
King Dredging’s dredge barge.

King Dredging, in business since 1975, made a bid for the work in October, 2018. Work began just over a year later on October 29, 2019. A hydraulic pump – a floating barge with an engine, pump, and cutter head – are used to clear the channel. Company crewmen described it as a “floating vacuum cleaner.” The barge itself has no means of propulsion – it is put in place by a small tug boat. Once in place in the channel, the barge is moved about by a system of anchors set by the King crew. The dredge barge is pulled around using the anchors.

The dredge does have a diesel engine though – a big one. It’s 500 hp, but it is dedicated a centrifugal pump instead of propulsion. That 500 hp pump is capable of pumping 4,000 gallons a minute. That pump enabled King Dredging to dig out the channel in three weeks.

A closer view of the dredge barge.

The mud and muck carved from the bottom of the channel – called spoils – have to go somewhere. In this case it was pumped out via pipe to a spoil site adjoining the marina.

Pecan Grove’s Dockmaster Don said the dredge barge pumped out 10,000 cubic yards of spoil to the site. There, he said, they “decant the mud and sand from the liquid, and the liquid goes back into the river.”

Pecan Grove Dockmaster Chuck Lawrence talks about the dredge.

At the start of the dredging, the channel had a max about 6 ft (with a few lower trouble spots.) CAMA gave Pecan Grove a permit to dredge to 8 ft, and that 8 ft mark is the channel depth now.

Sixty feet in width, the channel was dredged to have sloped sides. Pecan Grove Dockmaster Chuck Lawrence said, “we dredged a 50 foot swath, and then sides were tapered to keep the debris from falling back into the channel.” The expectation is it will keep the channel clear for longer. “We anticipate this one might last us ten years, or close to ten years,” Chuck said.

Pecan Grove Dredging
The spoil site, adjacent to the marina. A pipe from the dredge barge went underwater and then on land land – discharging directly into the spoil site.

More Dredging In Oriental This Winter
The next big dredging project in Oriental is the Whittaker Creek channel. The Friends of Whittaker Creek secured a matching grant (administered by the Town of Oriental) to help with the costs. The matching portion was fully funded in August, 2019.

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2019, King Dredging signed a contract with the Town of Oriental (as administrator of the Friends of Whittaker Creek grant) to clear the Sea Harbour Yacht Club spoil site in preparation to receive spoils from the Whittaker Creek dredge. The Town of Oriental/Friends of Whittaker Creek has struck a conceptual agreement with Sea Harbour Yacht Club to lease the Sea Harbour spoil site, on the condition it is returned in an equal or better condition.

That means clearing out part of the existing spoils from Sea Harbour’s last dredge in 2017. After the holidays, King Dredging will begin work on the spoil site. Town Manager Diane Miller says the spoil site clearing should be done by Jan 15, if not before. Bids for the dredging of Whittaker Creek will be taken after the Sea Harbour spoil site is recertified by CAMA.

According to CAMA rules (the NC Division of Coastal Management), the Whittaker Creek Dredging project must be completed by March 31, 2020.

Related Links:
Pecan Grove Marina
Whittaker Creek Dredging Fully Funded

Posted Friday December 20, 2019 by Allison DeWeese

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