Emerald Isle Alternative Boat Channel Project



Construction Window



Project Bidding



Permit Applications



Surveys Start







A series of residents residing along Sound Drive have experienced shoreline loss.  The increased boat activity in the Bogue Sound is considered to be a contributing factor of the erosion and degradation of the shoreline.  Residents approached the Town of Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners, requesting relief.


On January 11, 2022, engineers from Moffat & Nichol presented findings related to the Boat Channel Relocation project.  findings.  The estimated cost to install a -6.0 depth channel was initially identified at approximately $1.7 million.  It was noted that an alternative channel (of -6.0 feet) will help delay “future dredging” maintenance associated with the new channel. 


The initial project cost of $1.7 M include $125,000 in ‘Next Step’ surveys and investigation measures.  The project is a potential candidate for NC Shallow Draft Grant funds. The NC Shallow Draft Grant program historically provides 66% of overall project reimbursement, leaving the local applicant with a 33% local cost share.


It is key to note, the EI Boat Channel Relocation Project is dependent upon regulatory and permit issuance by the State of North Carolina.


On January 11, 2022, the Emerald Isle Board of Commissioners voted and instructed staff to work with Moffat & Nichol on the NC Shallow Draft Grant application process related to the Boat Channel Relocation. Moffat & Nichol immediately began working on first steps on this project.


With the assistance of Moffatt & Nichol, the Town of Emerald Isle applied for the NC Shallow Draft Graft on July 14, 2022. At the time of application, the revised project estimate increased to a cost $1.8 million and has the capacity to be fully grant funded via the State of North Carolina.  


On August 4, 2022,  an executed contract for $130,000 was submitted to the state and the NC Shallow Draft Grant program.  Moffatt & Nichol will began coordinating the necessary surveys and studies, to determine the project’s feasibility.


On January 10, 2023, engineers from Moffat & Nichol Moffatt & Nichol provided a project update to the Board and public. Additional SAV studies must be completed and slated to be completed in May/ June 2023.


As shared in January 2022, Environmental agencies requested a second seagrass survey in the spring to look for a second seagrass species that is more prevalent earlier in the year.

    • This second seagrass survey is scheduled to take place next week (May 8 – May 12).
    • This second seagrass survey will concentrate primarily on Alternatives 1 and 1A, which appears to have less regulatory and resource agencies roadblocks as compared to Alternative 2 where more evidence of SAV and benthic habitat was found outside of the proposed alternative channel.

Once the last round of environmental mapping is completed, Moffatt and Nichol will discuss the results of the mapping with environmental and regulatory agencies and get a better idea on the likelihood of permits being granted for the new channel excavation.  We would anticipate that the Town would also be a part of these agency discussions.  At this point, if the Town decides to continue to the permitting phase of the project, we would expect permit applications to be submitted in October, with permit issuance sometime in the late winter or early spring of 2024.  This timeline is illustrated below (taken from our January 2023 presentation to the Board of Commissioners).   Construction would then take place in late 2024/early 2025.




Project Start Date: Q3 2023

Projected End Date: Q2 2025

Status:  Waiting Grant Approval

Next Step: Environmental Surveys

Alternative Boat Channel Timeline
Boat Channel Alternatives

Staff Contact: 

Matt Zapp, Town Manager

Email Matt Zapp, Town Manager 



Moffatt & Nichol