January 10, 2017

MEMO TO:  Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:        Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:  Resolution Supporting Maintenance Dredging Funding for Port of Morehead City

The Board of Commissioners is asked to approve the attached resolution supporting State maintenance dredging funding for the Port of Morehead City.  This resolution is requested by the Morehead City Port Committee, a non-profit advocacy group for the Port. 

The attached letter from William Baily, Chairman of the Morehead City Port Committee, explains the request and the need for State maintenance dredging funding.  As noted in the attached letter, in the absence of sufficient Federal funding to properly maintain the navigation channel at the Port of Morehead City, additional State funding is necessary to achieve and maintain the authorized channel depth of 45 feet.  The North Carolina General Assembly recently created the Deep Draft Navigation Channel Dredging and Maintenance Fund to supplement Federal dredging funds at the Port of Wilmington and the Port of Morehead City, however, no funds were appropriated and no dedicated funding source was identified.  The attached resolution respectfully requests that the North Carolina General Assembly provide continued funding for this purpose.

Other municipalities in Carteret County have been asked to approve a similar resolution, and several have done so.  The Board should note that I have added specific language to the attached resolution indicating that funding provided for navigation maintenance dredging activities at the Port of Morehead City should also be sufficient to enable the placement of beach quality sand on the adjacent beaches of Bogue Banks.  As you know, Carteret County and the municipalities on Bogue Banks have been working for decades to insure that all beach quality sand associated with Port dredging activities be placed on the adjacent beaches.  There has been some progress on this issue in recent years, but far more sand continues to be deposited offshore than is placed on the adjacent beaches --- due solely to a lack of funding.  Although it is unlikely that sand dredged from the Port of Morehead City channel would be placed directly on Emerald Isle’s beaches, sufficient funding would enable it to be regularly placed on the beach in Atlantic Beach and Pine Knoll Shores, which would have significant indirect benefits for Emerald Isle’s beach.

I recommend approval of the attached resolution.